Building Resilient Communities in Puerto Rico

Innovative Resilience aims to spark economic development and support communities in Puerto Rico hit hard by Hurricane Maria through the development of resilience hubs. Their newest hub, located in Arroyo, provides technology and connectivity to a community severely lacking in resources as they attempt to build a more resilient future. 
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By Marti Grimminck and Rafael Betances

Inspired by Vint Cerf’s conviction to support the people of Puerto Rico on the path to recovery following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Innovative Resilience aims to spark sustainable economic development and support communities building their future. In September 2018, International Connector, ViaSat, JetBlue and Asociación de Salud Primaria de Puerto Rico opened the first community resilience hub to the people of Arroyo, Puerto Rico. The Hub brings a unique combination of robust technology and community activation to the area. Watch our Telemundo report.

Although located only one hour from the capital, San Juan, Arroyo is a community of 20,000 that severely lacks resources, with 54.8% of the population in poverty, a figure 14% higher than Puerto Rico’s national average. (Data USA)

The impact of the new resilience hub in this community, as well as in Utuado where Innovative Resilience also installed satellite connectivity and new technology, has been significant from day one, particularly amongst students and women.  85% of the hub’s users do not have a reliable connection or any connection to the Internet outside of the hub, and 95% have never worked in a co-working space. Now, community projects including the creation of a library for the region and a family restaurant aimed at attracting tourists are in planning. Innovative Resilience is also providing business expertise and telehealth services for the community through connectivity, while bringing more emergency preparedness training for residents. 

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