Strategic Actor: Jessica Roldan
Jessica first visited in Rancho Quemado in 2005 on a field trip with the University College of Cartago, where she later graduated with specializations in Business Administration and Tourism. Her university thesis project focused on implementing a Certificate of Sustainable Tourism for the Punta Marenco Hotel, and it was through her thesis work that she was able to establish roots in the region. Eventually, she settled in Rancho Quemado, where she later married.
She has worked with various grassroots organizations such as the School Board, Board of Education, the Drake Chamber of Tourism, and is an affiliated founder of COOPETURIC, the first rural tourism cooperative in the Osa Peninsula. Additionally, she is the president of the Committee of “Mujeres Esperanza” in Rancho Quemado, and is secretary of the Association of Integrated Development (ADI in Spanish), also in Rancho Quemado. Currently, Jessica has two initiatives in the process of consolidation: the Osa Mines Tent Camp, and a bakery “Las Delicias.”
The Committee of “Mujeres Esperanza” in Rancho Quemado was created as the result of a request that Jessica presented in 2011 INAMU program “Avancermos Mujeres”. The committee is now has a work plan and is currently undertaking projects both within the short- and the long-term. Among the projects is one with the goal of converting land of an old lodge into an area for community use, and another with the intent of constructing a children’s park in front of the town’s main plaza on MINAET land.
As a member of the Association of Integrated Development in Rancho Quemado, Jessica has contributed to various achievements benefitting the community. In 2012, the project “Manual maintenance of roads” of the Rincón-Drake route was approved with funds from the Ministry of Labor in coordination with the Osa Municipality. In 2013, a community security program was successfully implemented, and they have now formed an organized security committee. With the support of the Osa-Golfo Dulce Institutional Program of the University of Costa Rica (PiOsa in Spanish), a proposal submitted to the UNDP was approved. The UNDP provided $20,000 to benefit eight rural community tourism initiatives and the Sendero Osa for the purpose of the “development of a community ecotourism trial and the strengthening of micro-enterprises in the community of Rancho Quemado in the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve”. Jessica also successfully submitted a proposal to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE in Spanish) to light the soccer field in Rancho Quemado, as well as a proposal to FACOSA to use non-refundable funds to benefit nine production projects.
Recently in 2013, the Association of Integrated Development received a Peace Corps volunteer that will be supporting the area for two years with projects in economic development and rural tourism. This work will be similar to that done by the former student of agricultural engineering Anna Labarre, from the University of Paris, who interned for four months in Sendero Osa under the guidance of the renowned biologist Reinaldo Aguilar. As a result of her efforts, Labarre was able to identify the most conspicuous species of flora on the trail and designed a pamphlet for it.
Here in her own words, Jessica explains what an organization needs in order to be successful in its activities: “Experience has shown me that, in any organization, having a defined sense of direction is fundamental, and in my case that is to please God. From that is born the ability and willpower to work and support everything within reach, for the sake of common interest instead of one’s self interest. Even if you had all the material resources and abilities at hand, but lacked this driving factor, you would never achieve anything.”
She also underscores the importance of working in teams and of the people in them: “Additionally I could talk about the importance of tolerance and respect towards the rest of the colleagues in an organization. Seeing each other as equals helps us advance as a team. Healthy dialogue between everyone, in both positive and negative aspects, helps create the flow of a good work environment.“
With regards to the impact INOGO has had in the region, Jessica highlights that it has contributed to expand the vision of communal leaders, has acted as a bridge between public institutional officials who are often difficult to enlist, and lastly, it has acted as a mediator, ushering the needs of the communities to institutional levels where decision-making often takes place.