Monteverde Community Fund (Costa Rica)
Nothing about us, without us
The economy of Monteverde, Costa Rica is, in large part, based around the tourist industry which has grown exponentially since the 1980’s. Services for tourists are world class, but services for residents haven’t kept up. Young people growing up in this community lack many of the common services and facilities available in towns of comparable size throughout the country: there are no public parks, no places for young people to gather, no recreation centres, or even a public soccer field. There is a lack of after school programmes, music programmes, art classes, conservation efforts, apprenticeship programmes, or other ways for young people to learn and grow.
Which is why the Monteverde Community Fund (MCF) launched its Youth Fund, managed by young people for young people, enabling local youth groups to develop and grow their own project ideas, and leverage seed money to draw in additional support from other organizations as necessary. Based on the premise that the youth know best what it is they need, the Youth Advisory Board is currently compiling a survey of their peers, in order to prioritize which activities should be supported.
The Youth Advisory Board has used technology to good use, connecting with peers in other countries (most recently Colombia) who are undertaking similar initiatives - however, one of the lessons they have learned in their work so far has been the importance of face-to-face communications, and personal community outreach. MCF is particularly proud of these youth, who are building their own vision of the future for their community, and who MCF hopes will eventually move into positions of influence within the community and country at large (carrying the message of community philanthropy with them, of course).