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Technology and water contest for young people in rural communities of Costa Rica

  • This initiative is driven by a project that promotes the improvement of water supply services in vulnerable communities in Costa Rica, which is led by CATIE's Environment for Development Unit (EfD-CA)

November 16, 2020. Involving young people from rural areas to identify and design possible technology-based solutions to improve two-way communication between Associations for the Management of Water and Sewage Systems (Asadas) and their users, is the main objective of the contest Conectando jóvenes + tecnología + agua in rural areas of Costa Rica, which will take place from November 30th to December 11th, 2020.

Designed under the modality known as hackaton, the contest will seek that both women and men from all over the country, between 15 and 20 years old, work collaboratively in virtual sessions with the support of mentors, in order to find a technological solution to the challenge: How can communication and accountability in Asadas be improved with their users and other key actors in rural areas of Costa Rica?

During the hackaton, collaborative work will be promoted, among interdisciplinary teams, oriented to the solution of problems. This event will be held through digital media and is made possible as an initiative of the project Accountability, Use of Technology and Citizen Participation for the Improvement of Water Services in Vulnerable Communities in Costa Rica (WAPP), of the Environment for Development Unit (EfD-CA) of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center).

In turn, the hackaton will have four phases. In the first one, the analysis of the problem should be proposed, hold an interview and list the solutions. The second, called Hacking, will consist of developing a possible prototype solution, which will be followed by the Sharing phase, which will represent sending a video of a maximum of five minutes with the explanation of the solution. Finally, the fourth phase, called Submit, will mean that the selected people will present the solution before a group of judges.

"The first three places will receive prizes of USD 1500, 1000 and 500, respectively, while the fourth and fifth places will receive various items provided by CATIE and the sponsors," shared Adriana Escobedo, coordinator of the hackaton and CATIE's agribusiness specialist. In addition, each young participant will receive a certificate and those who wish to continue working on the proposed projects will be able to do so with the support of the organization Ayúdame a Estudiar CR S.A.

The Asadas linked to the winning groups will receive prizes from the event's sponsors such as El Colono, R&M and Hidrogeotecnia, either in the form of purchase orders or training.

For Escobedo, the young population is the least involved in the processes of resource management in their communities, so offering an exclusive space for young people can serve as a bridge to demonstrate the capabilities and skills that the country's young population possesses.

"Young people will be able to learn first-hand about the important work done by the Asadas and will be able to provide solutions to one of the most complex problems, such as adequate communication for water management with users and other key actors," said Escobedo.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 20 can register individually or as a group, before November 26, through https://forms.gle/KifUoj5fLJUdZPH89. For more information, please visit: https://bit.ly/36jwzRR.


The WAPP project is funded by the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) of the United States Department of State through the Embassy in Costa Rica.


More information:

Evelyn Chaves
Sustainable Agri-Business Specialist
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Phone: 2558-2089 o 8309-6036


Bárbara Viguera
Project Coordinator
Environment for Development Unit (EfD-CA).
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Written by:

Marianela Argüello L.
Communication Officer
Environment for Development Unit (EfD-CA)
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