A graduate student pours an average of 300 hours into writing their thesis. However as soon as they graduate, their data collection, analysis, and recommendations are archived, never put to practical use. Meanwhile, poor rural communities confront challenges that student groups often have the resources and analytical capabilities to address—but the connection between the two is missing.
Retos identified a real need for support from practitioners who would be willing to invest time in the field, researching and assessing solutions to challenges in rural areas. The team thus created a web platform that connects academic and rural communities in Colombia to cooperate on practical solutions to rural challenges.
In addition to the web platform, Retos runs educational workshops to help rural Colombians formulate and post their local challenges. Universities then register academic teams, to which a learning algorithm assigns a particular challenge. Retos also facilitates communication between participants, offers project guidance, and assesses projects to inform future partnerships.