Community Building Projects

San Antonio School Construction Project, Tipitapa, Nicaragua

PROJECT NAME: San Antonio School Construction

PROJECT SUMMARY: San Antonio is a small village made of 28 families and around 150 inhabitants. There is no school in the community and the nearest one is 1.5 miles away. Of 32 school-age children living in the village only 5 are attending a school. This is because the only way to travel to the school is walking through a very busy highway that lacks pedestrians or bike lanes, which makes the trip very dangerous, especially for small children. The project will build a new single-classroom school. The school building will be 33 x 20 feet. The foundations, slab and floor will be made of concrete reinforced with 3/8-1/4 steel rebar. The walls will have a steel structure anchored in the slab, made by 4”x4” square steel columns and beams. The external part of the wall structure will be covered with cement dry panels (Durock) and the internal walls, with dry wall panels. The roof will be made by steel roofing sheets supported by a steel structure. The doors will be made of metal and the windows will be protected with steel bars. 

PROJECT PARTNERS:
The Global Uplift Project (TGUP)
The Community School Construction Committee

The Global Uplift Project (TGUP) helps American students and individuals build classrooms and other infrastructure projects in the developing world from donations as small as one dollar (hence its name).  Since its founding in 2007, TGUP has completed more than 140 such projects in 17 countries in Asia, Central America, and Africa.  TGUP is an IRS registered 501c3 nonprofit.  

The Community School Construction Committee: It is made by community leaders elected by the inhabitants. It will be in charge of organizing the logistic and support by the community for the project implementation. This includes the organization of volunteers to work in the construction; provision of space for storage and safeguarding tools and materials; and procure material support from rice farmers to the project.
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PROJECT DATES: May-July 2021

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY AND PROJECT:

San Antonio is a small rural community made of 28 houses with roughly 150 inhabitants. It is part of the Malacatoya municipality of the Granada department in Nicaragua, and is located 18 miles Northwest from Tipitapa, Managua, along a new highway connecting the Pacific and the Central Region. Most people are employed as agricultural workers in rice fields around the community, but this source of employment is seasonal. People work only five months per year on average. During the time without employment, people struggle very hard to get food and basic goods for survival. Many of them hunt iguanas or fish in some ponds and creeks near the community to get some food. Other travel to the neighboring towns to do some informal work and get some income. 

A couple of years ago when the road was not paved, around 20 students in the community used to go to a school located 1.5 miles away in the neighboring community of Santa Martha. Very recently, the road was paved and extended to connect  Tipitapa with Granada and the Central Region of Nicaragua. This improvement has exponentially increased the traffic, mainly used by big trucks for transport of agricultural products and other imported goods. The good conditions of the road tempt drivers to go at high speeds breaking the speed limits in the country. Besides, the road was built without shoulders or lanes for pedestrians or bicycles. This has made walking or biking very challenging and dangerous. Many fatal accidents have already ocurred in different points of the road. Parents are scared to send children to the Santa Martha school by themselves.  Even, when the road was not so busy, pre-schoolers were not attending school because of the distance. During the rice crop season, parents are not able to take smaler children to the school and prefer them to stay at home. Now just 5 out of around 32 school age childre are attending a school. Three of them moved to neighboring towns with relatives in order to have access to education. 

In response, community leaders looked for support to provide an alternative for smaller children and ensure reinforcement for those who had access to the school. A faith-based organization provided support for volunteers of the community to teach children at homes. Later a small room made of sticks was built to provide community-based basic schooling, but it was to shaky and collapsed. This support ended in 2018 and now the vast majority of children have no access to education. The school does not have teachers paid by the government, but the community expect that with the construction of their own school building, they would have better chances to get a teacher appointed to teach in the school. It is a policy of the Ministry of Education to provide teachers to communities that have more than 15 children for preschool and elementary school. During the lobbying process to get a government-paid teacher, which could last until one year, Seeds of Learning will support voluntary teachers from the community to start providing classes to the children as soon as the school is finished.

The project will build a 33 x 20 ft building.  The foundations, slab and floor will be made of concrete reinforced with 3/8 and ¼ steel rebar. The walls will be supported by a steel structure anchored in the slab, made by 4”x4” square steel columns and beams. This structure will be covered in its external side by cement dry panels (Durock) screwed to the metal structure and finished with cement-sand-based stucco for further strength and esthetic. The internal side will be covered by dry wall panels. The roof will be made of galvanized steel sheets supported by a structure made of steel rafters and purlins. The doors will be made of wood and metal; and the windows will be protected by steel pipe bars.

Consistent with SOL’s model, the school will be mostly build with community participation, just led by a professional builder. If the traveling to Nicaragua is back to normality, this project will also allow to receive international volunteers from the United States to work alongside the community. The project will also offer an opportunity to improve the community organization and increase self-esteem to look for other projects, including the provision of vocational training that allow community members to increase their chances to get a job or create their own income-generating iniciatives during rice off-season time. The school space may also be used for other purposes, like community meetings, adult education, vocational training and even the provision of health care by government health staff. The school will be built in an existing piece of land owned by the community and therefore no coordination with the Ministry of Education is necessary. The community will hand the building over the government for the school operation when a teacher is appointed.

ANTICIPATED BENEFITS:

  • More than 30 children will have access to education.
  • Created opportunities for adult education and other educational programs like vocational training.
  • Reduction of the risk of traffic accidents for children currently attending the nearest school.
  • A space for the community to meet an exchange around community issues and potential projects.
  • A space for the provision of other social services to the community, like health care, training, adult education.

 

PRIMARY BENEFICIARIES:

35 preschool and elementary school children

1 teachers

150 community members

IMPACT METRICS:

  • School enrollment grows from 5 to 35 students (700%)
  • At least 10 community meetings held in the new school every year
  • At least 3 health care mobile services held by the school every year
  • At least 2 training sessions held per year.

BUDGET SUMMARY: 

Summary of project costs:

Materials $ 7,743.69

Labor $ 3,521.45

Other $    700.00

Total $ 11,965.14

SUMMARY AND EVALUATION

This is a high priority project based on the following facts:

  • Currently 30 children have no access to education at all in the community.
  • The presence of a school in the village will minimize the risk of fatal traffic accidents among school-age children.
  • The new building will be used immediately after its construction and it is expected the education authorities will be compelled to appoint a teacher for an important number of children.
  • The community members are highly motivated with the prospect to have a school right in their community, which will allow them to increase the opportunity to take jobs available in the area.
  • The new infrastructure will facilitate the provision of additional community services like health, training and adult education.
  • The project implementation will help the community to develop organizational skills required to deal with other urgent community issues.

 

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