Nathalia Mesa is the executive director of aeioTU – Fundación Carulla, an operating foundation that has played a significant role in the transformation of the early childhood development (ECD) sector of Colombia, South America. Fundación Carulla created aeioTU six years ago, a social enterprise that has a network of 27 ECD centers serving 13,000 children with a Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum. A longitudinal study led by Rutgers University has proven that after 20 months in the program, children have an improvement on 30% effect on weight per height and important and stable cognitive positive effects, particularly on receptive vocabulary. There is a positive effect of 90% in vocabulary reported in the girls who attended the program, equal to a receptive verbal development improvement in 15 months. By proving that it is possible to change the course of life of these children, aeioTU has opened the way for additional philanthropic investors and for the national and local governments to invest in ECD and increase the standards.
Born in Medellin, Colombia, Mesa has Business Administration and Economics degree from the University of Georgia. She was an economist researcher at the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development and at the INCAE Business School in Costa Rica and then worked for eight years at AVINA, a foundation with Swiss-origins that invest throughout Latin America in social entrepreneurs and high impact networks.