Friday, April 16, 2010

Community Partner Profile: Nuestra Voz

by Kirsten Hope

Photo 1. Prof. Shumate and Allison revising the newsletter.
Photo 2. Claire and Laura editing an email.
Photo 3. Claire and Prof Shumate during the initial discussion.
I attended a part of a meeting of Nuestra Voz today, which is very different from the other service places we offer. Nuestra Voz is an organization which runs a website that connects a web of companies in Costa Rica, encouraging them to work with and for one another in an effort to support sustainable development in Costa Rica. This organization is unlike anything I have ever heard of before. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not very involved with economics or international relations, but this type of organization was completely new to me. The Nuestra Voz crew is very small, comprising four women: Professor Michelle Shumate (the coordinator), Allison Fournier, Claire Fry (both our students), and Laura (Spanish major and student volunteer). Together, these four women develop newsletters for the organization and follow-up with Costa Rican companies, whom Professor Shumate has already contacted about working with the website. Today, I saw Allison and Professor Shumate finalizing a newsletter, while Claire and Laura edited a follow-up email to send out to Costa Rican companies.

While I don't know much about sustainable development or business, visiting Nuestra Voz made me realize that these women are working to create a stronger web of communication between Costa Rican enterprises. In this way, sustainable development companies, which often struggle in obtaining the necessary resources, are more connected to other companies in their own country that could potentially provide them with the necessary resources. I think the efforts Nuestra Voz is making are truly remarkable in that they open lines of communication, which are imperative in this ever-globalizing world. Communication plays such a crucial role in our world, and actually is an important theme in this class, and this website represents an incredible first step in strengthening lines of communication between companies. I am really glad I had the opportunity to visit this group of women, and I was extremely impressed with the work they are doing.

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