Young women in rural Costa Rica underwent geospatial technology training as a means of developing agriculture and sustainability in their communities
San Jose, 18 November 2021 (IICA) – Approximately twenty Costa Rican young women involved in family farming, organic fertilizer production and water management, as well as students from natural resource management–related fields, among others, were trained in drone operation, electronic prototype design, programming, additive manufacturing and 3D printing to manage projects that will drive sustainability in the rural areas of the country.
The women, who live in the northern Pacific region of Chorotega, participated in a rally applying geospatial technology to agriculture, in an attempt to bridge the digital divide of young women in rural Costa Rica. The event was organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the School of Geography of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the Costa Rican National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO.
This was the fifth staging of this type of activity, which was developed to spark the interest of rural women in digital technologies, utilize their talent to identify environmental problems and devise solutions to benefit the management of their regions.
Wendy Salazar, a resident of Hojancha, Guanacastem who participated in the rally, explained that, “The knowledge gained will help to develop a project in which technological tools can be used to geolocalize components of the water distribution system, allowing for easier access to information, increased control and more efficient water use”.
The Chorotega region, where the beneficiaries of the rally live, is part of Costa Rica’s Dry Corridor, an area that is particularly hard hit by water shortages and in which family farming is an extremely important means of subsistence and supplier of food.
One valuable aspect of the initiative is that the women themselves become knowledge facilitators. For example, Valeria Méndez from Oreamuno de Cartago (in the country’s central region), who took part in the second staging of the rally, is now assisting with the UCR-IICA training, sharing her experience with other young women.
Méndez remarked that, “This is extremely important, because we come from remote communities, and it will be invaluable if technological solutions can be applied to the problems in these places, with the support of these institutions, which will also help to reduce the technological divide for rural women”.
Projects arising out of the activity in the Chorotega region included digital applications for environmental data sampling and management, prototypes of electronic monitors and 3D modeling applications, for which the organizers will provide technical support to ensure that they positively impact the communities.
According to Pascal Girot, Director of UCR’s School of Geography, “Many local leaders may be in charge of aqueducts or production projects and these technologies will assist them to improve the efficiency of water and energy use and equip them with devices to control livestock and crop productivity, as well as to monitor soil moisture, in order to determine when to irrigate or apply fertilizers, among other uses”.
Jonathan Castro, Coordinator of IICA’s Digital Fabrication Lab stressed that, “It is critical that we demonstrate through technical and positive actions that technology and innovation must be effectively channeled to communities where there are significant divides, such as rural youth”.
Institutional Communication Division