The Desarrolla Costa Rica Project began as an alumni initiative developed with Giovanni Graziano ‘97. The project focuses on the local community development of Chomes, Costa Rica; a town located in one of the lowest resource areas of the country with scarce job prospects. Mr. Graziano’s vision is to create the infrastructure necessary for a sustainable community. The goal of this undergraduate team will be to assess the social, education, and health needs of the community during the summer of 2017. With this understanding, the team will propose solutions that will benefit the Chomes community in the long-term.
We are looking for a multidisciplinary team of 3 individuals with a passion for community engagement, a desire to translate research into a sustainable project, and a love for Latin America. During the Spring of 2017, students will design questionnaires, focus groups, and other methods to collect data for their field research in the summer of 2017. Students selected need to be fluent in Spanish so that they can conduct firsthand research in Chomes during the summer for 6 weeks. The students will be responsible for meeting throughout the spring semester to prepare the research material. Desarrolla will help students receive funding for the summer and help with the project development. The summer will focus on research, which will then inform future research and implementation. Working alongside the Chomes community, the team will design a project to address the primary concerns found through the research. The implementation of this project will be done alongside community members in order to ensure community ownership and empowerment as well as sustainability. Depending on the needs, the project will continue in the Fall of 2017 with further research at Duke and/or training for another summer research opportunity in 2018.
Because we are adopting a holistic view of all the components that make a community thrive sustainably, the undergraduate team will have the opportunity to work alongside graduate students. A group of Graduate Master’s students from the Nicholas School of the Environment will be researching the ecological and economic needs of Chomes and designing a “Zona Franca Agroindustrial”. The teams will design a way to collaborate so that the economic, ecological, and social needs of the community are all being met.