our project

Exploring local knowledge


This week Kemly will be going to the last global meeting of the IKM Emergent Project, to share results with other members of the global team.

We wish her the best. We are looking forward to have lots of useful information about other experiences around the world.


This project has meant to me…

By Adriana Sánchez*

What do we mean when talking about local knowledge? Why is it important? Why is it different from expert knowledge? Can we use ICTs to rescue, revalue and position the local knowledge? How a process like this can empower a community?

We had all this questions at the beginning and probably our answers are not complete or total. When we differentiate the local knowledge from others there is a politic view involved: is not only that people from the communities do not consider what they know to be important, is that researchers and academics tend to think they know all the important stuff and they are the ones how should teach people from communities on everything.

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Project Summary. Introducing our hosting communities

Quebradas, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica.

Quebradas is a rural community located at the Southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica. It has a very important river basin, that generates the drinking water for the 95 thousand inhabitants of the city of San Isidro del General. The community is part of the District of San Isidro, created in 1939.

Its name means “Stream” and was given due to the high amount of rivers and streams in the area. Currently, and since 1983, FUDEBIOL works in the preservation of the river basin, supported by a volunteers program, and in partnership with the AyA. FUDEBIOL was our counterpart in this community, and they helped us to contact primary schools and to set the working team. We established relations with 3 different schools of the area: Quebradas, Quebradas Arriba and Morazán, and five children from each school joined us during the process. Moms and teachers organized themselves to join us during the capacity building workshops, for the kids can not leave the school during their normal schedule without someone in charge.

Here is the team:

What did we do here? Working with the kids in a 9 month process, we developed capacities in the use of digital cameras to rescue local images from the community. Along with the photography capacities, the kids learned how to conduct an interview and how to tell a story about the community based on testimonials from key actors that were interviewed.

The results: we count on a series of board games designed with the images taken by the children during the project development. They selected their favorite pictures to compose 3 different games: a memory cards set, a charade set and a picture-based bingo Read the rest of this entry »

Coordination with communities

We have had little luck finding an urban community with a desire to work on the project. After unsuccessful negotiations with Ciudadelas de Libertad we decided to look for another community to continue the work. However, we have seen that it is more difficult to find instances of local involvement in urban communities. In Tirrases we had to suspend the process due to the lack of interest of the people involved.

These two situations lead us to believe that the most difficult problem faced in urban areas is precisely the sense of “belonging”. Urban communities in Costa Rica are increasingly shaped by migrants from rural areas or passing students who reside in them during the week to attend classes. Moreover, with the recent spike in crime we are experiencing a very strong process of individuation, which locks people into their private property and hamper their relationships with neighbors and the collective bodies of their neighborhoods.

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Verdurería/ Greengrocery
Desamparados is a city located at the south of the capital city. It has more than 200 thousand inhabitants, and shows a mixture of high developed areas and poor migrant settlements. Its biggest problem is reflected in this unequal development, that causes a high level of dropout among young people.
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Our project

In this blog we will be summarizing the general activities of the project. We decided to create a different blog for each community, so the products, experiences and particularities of each community will be easy to find and will not mix up. In the 4th column of this blog you will find the links to the community blogs, as well as a flickr photo album were all the pictures taken by us during the workshops, as well as the participants photographs are placed.

In the 2nd column you have a display of searching tools that can help you to navigate this blog, as well as an “about” page where general information about the project is displayed. The 3th column includes information of communities where we tried to develop a “Historia Comunitaria” but did not participate in the project.

We hope this digital spaces we have created will help the researchers from other countries and the members of IKM to better understand what we have done here in Central America.

New communities in the spotlight

Ciudadelas de Libertad


Ciudadelas de Libertad is a non-profit, self-managed foundation that works promoting the educative and cultural development of the young population in the Desamparados community. They offer scholarships and additional academic support to young members of the community, and have been working since 1974.

We presented the project proposal to the board of Ciudadelas de Libertad, and they have accepted to work with us. This will be the last of the three communities we will work with, for they suggested us to start at the begining of 2010, after the participants are done with their community work program.