Marco Campos Awarded for Community Development Efforts

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Marco Campos Campos, age 49, has formed part of the communities of Nosara and Samara for the past 12 years, and his efforts to help these and other communities develop has not gone unnoticed. In December in San Jose, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) recognized him for his work to benefit the province of Guanacaste and the country. 

UPF, founded in 2005, is a global network dedicated to building a world of peace centered on universal spiritual and moral values through the Ambassadors for Peace program and efforts to revitalize the United Nations. The Federation is active in more than 100 countries.

Marco Campos was born in San Carlos of Alajuela, but 12 years ago he moved to Samara. Later in 2003 he moved to Nosara, where he opened a wood depot and ran it for two years until an accident left him unable to walk for a full year. In 2007, he again moved to Samara where he administered a saw mill for two years. Then in 2009 he saw an ad in the newspaper for a competition to participate in a technical program to study cooperative and community development. He entered the competition and was among three people from Guanacaste selected to participate.

The training program was intensive, held in the southern zone of Costa Rica for three months in 2010. “Every day it was 14 hours per day. Every day there were quizzes and exams,” Campos recalled. “I liked working with the communities. I graduated and I came to Samara and saw the need to form a cooperative.”

He applied the training he received to form Coopesamareños, a coop aimed at taking advantage of the area’s wood resources, utilizing leftover wood from local saw mills and collaborating with the National Learning Institute (INA) to train local individuals in wood working.

At the same time, Campos became involved with CASATUR, the Samara Chamber of Tourism, as their project manager, a role he occupied for two years, working on projects such as training courses, the Blue Flag Ecological program and beach cleaning.

Now Coopesamareños is extending its reach to five communities—Samara, Cuesta Grande of Nicoya, and three communities of the canton of Santa Cruz: Portegolpe, 27 de Abril and San Jose de la Montaña. Campos explained that groups of 30 people from each of these communities will receive training in January in manufacturing clothing in order to form a consortium to supply clothing to hospitals nationally.

“My personal objective to see the communities develop, creating employment opportunities,” Campos affirmed.

Toward that end, he has also become involved in politics in the last couple of years, and this year he decided to change his party banner. Previously a member of the leftist Frente Amplio (Broad Front) party, he recently switched to the new Avance Nacional (National Advancement) party, founded in 2012, and he is currently on the ballot with legislative candidate Gerardo Brenes as first substitute.

When asked why he changed parties, Campos explained, “It’s a party more to the center, more focused on projects of investment and focused on the community.”

Campos moved to Barsilito in July to work on the political project with Brenes. Campos said they hope to win the election and make it to the Legislative Assembly in order to promote productive projects that support community development.