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The Fundación para la Aplicación y Enseñanza de las Ciencias, FUNDAEC, was created in 1974 in Colombia by a group of scientists and professionals who were searching for ways to promote the autochthonous development of rural areas. The Foundation dedicated itself to the creation of the University for Integral Development (UDI, according to its Spanish acronym), which was defined as a social space in which the inhabitants of a given region learn to choose and walk the paths of their own communities’ development. The UDI’s methodology consists in focusing on the various life processes of the population of a region—for example, production, marketing, education, decision-making, and socialization—and setting in motion parallel learning processes that include components of investigation and action. The processes that have received the most attention and around which a considerable amount of knowledge have been generated include: formal education, alternative systems of production in small farms, rural agro-industry, support and services for primary production, and organization for the strengthening of the local economy.

The document, "FUNDAEC: Its Programs and its Principles", offers a more complete introduction to the foundation's story. To read it, click here.