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Verónica Celis

Increasing donation money with her transparency platform for NGOs.

Year Honored


Latin America

Corruption is often one of the main obstacles to people's willingness to get involved and donate to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and causes the funds that do end up being donated to be lost along the way. According to former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 30% of development aid in 2011 did not reach its destination because of corruption. 

So when the young architect Verónica Celis decided to create an NGO to build sustainable schools and realized with regret that she herself was not donating money, she decided to analyze the root of the problem in order to find a solution. This resulted in the creation of EnlightAID, a platform that "shows in real time when and where donations are made" to the social or environmental projects of the organizations registered in EnlightAID, explains Celis. For this creation, Celis has been chosen by MIT Technology Review in Spanish's as one of the winners of Innovators under 35 Latin America 2020. 

The platform "works as a social network that allows you to create project content and raise funds at the same time," explains its creator. EnlightAID's goal is to put an end to corruption in the field of donations. The young woman estimates that the loss of money intended for charity exceeds $168 billion (about 141 billion euros) per year worldwide. This amount exceeds the FAO's estimated cost of $151 billion (about 127 billion euros) per year to end world hunger. 

With EnligthAID, Celis aims to create greater donor confidence in social organizations. "We decided to go from being an NGO to being the company that makes technology for NGOs to be transparent," the young woman explains. This innovation would not only increase effective donations by reducing corruption in the world of cooperation, but would also increase the amount donated by improving the image of NGOs and providing assurance that donors' money reaches its destination. 

EnlightAID currently works with small projects around the world, where it connects different NGOs with people. Celis is working on a new version that will also allow companies to exercise corporate social responsibility and, in return, be able to trace all the money they contribute to social organizations. 

"It's a very good project and is necessary for the community," says Quito Stock Exchange (Ecuador) CEO Jeffry Illingworth, a member of the Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2020 jury. He believes that EnlightAID has "a great added value, because the proposal of donating and knowing that your funds are being used properly makes the process transparent." The expert believes that the proposal "solves the problem of connecting people and companies willing to help with people in need."