Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development


This paper is an investigation for a social venture business plan created as part of the graduation requirements for SIT Graduate Institute, as a major in the social innovation track. The attached plan is based on the creation of a for-profit business that uses the revenue to fund the social interventions needed in a community of almost 10,000 inhabitants. This business, RUEDA, which in Spanish means, "wheel" is a symbol. While it is an acronym, which is explained in the plan itself, the symbolism of this wheel is not to be lost. A wheel is a circle, a cycle, or something that constantly turns. This is a symbol that represents the people of Barrios Unidos, Aguadulce, in the province of Cocle, in the Republic of Panama. This small town, has resiliency, reinvents itself, and finds ways to come back again. The issue that will be examined in this report is the recent rise in gang activity in this community. Similar to many small towns in the U.S., a lack of infrastructure, oppressive poverty, and a lack of options with which to escape the situation have given way to a rise in gangs. Drug use and alarming rates of violent crimes have created fear in the community. This has given many young people the idea that there was no other option than to join a gang and live a life of crime. A good percentage of youth in this small community are not finishing their studies, many are becoming infected with STDs and HIV at a higher rate than in other parts of the country. It is important to understand why this has happened, to then alongside stakeholders find ways to solve these issues.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Family, Life Course, and Society | Work, Economy and Organizations