I am on the campus of Guadalajara’s Marist University and the place is buzzing with activity. In just about every classroom, corridor and auditorium, teams of girls ranging in age from 8 to 18 who have spent the last few months developing their own smartphone applications are talking to animatedly to visitors—myself included.
Every one of these apps, I discover, has been developed in response to a perceived problem of some kind. At the beginning of the project all the girls were given the same challenge: identify a problem in your community and develop an app that can help resolve it.
Not surprisingly, many of the apps deal with nutrition, while others focus on unemployment, security, stress and depression. One even provides assistance for Mexicans looking for missing persons (los desaparecidos).
I walk up to a stand labeled Work Now. Here I find five girls from Cocula, the Jalisco town famed as “the birthplace of Mariachi.”
“As the name implies, Work Now gets you a job,” states Anay Camacho confidently. “We live out in the country where unemployment is one of the biggest problems, which is why so many people go looking for work in the United States. And the whole problem got a lot worse after Covid came along. So we created this app, which simply connects people looking for a job with businesses looking for workers.“