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Our story

El Colectivo 506 was co-founded by

journalist Katherine Stanley Obando, photojournalist Mónica Quesada Cordero, and B&B owner Pippa Kelly. All entrepreneurs, all professionals in different fields, all friends and mothers, we have many things in common… but what brought us together to create El Colectivo 506 is our love for Costa Rica. The project grew out of many years of dreams and frustrations, years spent watching Costa Rica’s rural communities compete for limited space in the media and often fail to get their stories told. We all saw, in different ways, how the country’s inequality and urban-rural divide is threatening its social cohesion, its childrens’ future, and even its long-standing democracy. We had a vision for a site that would bring together longform, solutions journalism, and community-sourced travel and living content. Today, we’re proud to say we’re taking that vision a little further each day.

El Colectivo 506 is for people who love Costa Rica:

no matter your nationality, no matter where you live, no matter whether you are familiar with every corner of this country or just dreaming about visiting it someday. What unites our community is an appreciation for what Costa Rica represents—its traditions of conservation, education and public health, its culture, and its people—and a desire to help the country continue to grow. We applaud the good that is happening here, and we also understand that there is much to improve. We also believe that the tools we need to address our problems are right here within our borders. We just need to figure out how to use them.

We invite you, our readers, whether you come to us from the heart of rural Costa Rica or a crowded faraway city,

to give yourself a little break from your day-to-day. Slow down for a bit. Step onto our collective bus, the colectivo in our name—the kind that stops wherever its riders ask and leads you to unexpected findings—and see Costa Rica with new eyes. If you imagine it to be a perfect destination, you’ll learn with us that it’s much more complicated than that. If you’ve breathed its problems your whole life and are feeling worn down, you’ll hear from others who are facing the same struggles and have fresh perspectives to offer. We’re all in it together, sharing information, stories, and reflections that are for and from this fascinating country: por y para Costa Rica.

Founding partners

Katherine Stanley Obando

Co-founder

Katherine is a journalist specializing in in-depth reporting on immigration, education, women’s rights, and civil society initiatives. She is the former editor-in-chief of The Tico Times in San José, and is an experienced nonprofit leader and coach with extensive grant development, research, fundraising and project management experience. She is the co-founder of JumpStart Costa Rica and the Costa Rica Corps – both of which focus on engaging volunteers in creating opportunities for rural and low-income rural communities – and is happiest when working to share her skills with nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Katherine lives in San José with her Costa Rican husband Adrián and daughter Emma, for whom she wrote “Love in Translation: Letters to My Costa Rican Daughter,” published in 2016.

Mónica Quesada Cordero

Co-founder

Mónica is an award-winning Costa Rican photographer with 15 years’ experience in project development across multiple branches of photography, including the fast-paced editorial world as well as other demanding areas of photography such as portraiture, wildlife, food, and architecture. She discovered photography as a college student and changed her life to follow her new passion wholeheartedly. She has complemented her images with writing and editorial experience and a master’s degree in Audiovisual and Multimedia Production from the Universidad de Costa Rica. Monica is very interested in the subjects of healthy aging, conservation and equality; she is co-founding El Colectivo because of her deep commitment to in-depth photojournalism that is guided by her belief in the worth of each person’s story. She lives in San José with her husband Thomas, her two toddlers, and their pets.

Pippa Kelly Furness

Co-founder

Pippa is a rural tourism entrepreneur, educator and community advocate. Originally from Australia, she first came to Costa Rica as a community volunteer in 2001. She has spent 13 years in Costa Rica and is now a proud Costa Rican citizen. She is the co-founder of the award-winning Casitas Tenorio B&B in Bijagua, in Costa Rica’s Northern Zone, where she lives with her trhee bilingual and binational daughters. Pippa works tirelessly to connect her community with new opportunities – through English classes, environmental education projects, trainings, cultural experiences and more – and to raise her voice on behalf of hard-working rural families. She is passionate about sharing the beauty, goodness, and generosity of rural Costa Rican communities with the world, and watching travelers fall in love and make deep connections with the country that has transformed her life.

AWARDS

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Organizations that have supported our mission

National Geographic

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Solutions Journalism Network

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Sembra Media

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Fundación Gabo

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Internews and Mercury Phoenix Trust

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