Community Building Projects

El Triunfo School Kitchen and Dining Room Project, Tipitapa, Nicaragua

The Need

El Triunfo is a rural community within the Tipitapa municipality, located 10 miles away from the muncipal capital. The community has middle size elementary school with four classrooms and the same number of teachers, who teach 89 students from preschool through sixth grade. Two of the four classrooms were built by SOL a few years ago with the community and American volunteers. As part of a nationwide program sponsored by the World Food Program, the children receive a meal in the school. The school teachers are provided with rice, beans, cooking oil, and cereals, which are cooked by parents in their own houses, as the school does not have cooking facilities. Then, they take the food to the school, where it is served to kids, who bring their own plates, cups and cutlery to school every day. Children eat in the classrooms or sitting on the sidewalks, which is not very comfortable. The process is somehow awkward and does not allow to have a proper supervision on food safety. Houses in the community are very poor and most of the time lack proper conditions to ensure hygiene. Besides, it puts an additional burden on parents, who need to get firewood by themselves. Another problem is that the school lacks a proper store room to keep food safe from rats or other pests. Sometimes food is dumped because it is contaminated with rat urine of feces.

This has led the teachers and parents to think about building proper facilities right in the school. These facilities would include an equipped kitchen, a store room, and a wide dining area for children to eat. This would bring a lot of advantages. Teachers would ensure a proper supervision of food preparation; raw food would be kept safe, avoiding in this way losses caused by pests contamination; kids would eat in more comfortable conditions facilitating in this way a better nutrition; and the dining space would provide additional school facilities for different purposes, including the organization of events and other educational activities.

 

Project Description

The project will build a 12 x 7 meters building, divided in different areas. The kitchen and the storeroom would be totally walled; the dining area would be an open space (without walls) to accommodate tables and chairs for the children to eat. The walled area would be 7 x 3 meters and would be divided in two spaces: a store room (3 x 3 meters) and the kitches (4 x 3 meters). The foundations and floor will be made of steel reinforced concrete and quarry stones; the walls of the kitchen and store room would be made of cinder blocks reinforced with rebar and concrete beams and columns. The open space will also have rebar reinforced columns to support the roof structure. The roof supporting structure will be made of steel purlins (2”x6” and 2”x4”). The roof cover will be aluminum-coated corrugated steel sheets. Besides the advantages mentioned in the previous section, this building would bring a lot of advantages to these school. One of them is related to the current context of infectious diseases, like COVID19. An open and big space would be safer as it is much ventilated and allows for social distancing. Besides, it will be useful to organize more dynamic activities and games with kids who are currently constrained by crowded classrooms. The space would be also ideal for parents and community meetings and cultural events, including the graduation ceremonies.

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