Viva Bartkus, Associate Professor of Management, and Wyatt Brooks, Assistant Professor of Economics, at the University of Notre Dame, visited the department of Putumayo with the PASO Colombia Team. They will be leading a research team to conduct an evaluation of the new Rural Alternative Schools (ERA) that will be opening in Puerto Guzmán and its impact on ex-combatants and members of the surrounding communities that are in the process of substituting illegal crops. The research team will establish a baseline before the opening of the ERAs and will track their evolution over the course of the year.
Professor Bartkus’ main area of research is on the impact of business in re-building war-torn societies. Her team’s research effort will assess how the ERA model impacts the livelihoods of the participants, their food consumption, their perceptions on violence, and how the ERAs can transform the social fabric of the community and reduce the presence of illegal crops in the territory. This information will be very valuable for PASO’s strategic decision making, for future fundraising, and engagement of new partners to expand the ERA model.