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May 29, 2019

Reducing vulnerability through knowledge transfer

Center for Indigenous Education in Ojo de Agua
Center for Indigenous Education in Ojo de Agua

The project to reduce vulnerability through environmental management and increasing constructive capacities in reinforced adobe, developed in communities of the Mountain region of Guerrero continues.

Center for Indigenous Education in La Ciénega

On March 16th the Supervision Center for Preschool Indigenous Education was inaugurated in the community of La Ciénega, municipality of Malinaltepec. The event was attended by municipal authorities of this community, and from others nearby, as well as authorities of the Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero, pre-school teachers of indigenous education, and representatives of Cooperación Comunitaria AC, who signed the certificate of delivery.

In the same community, we also developed a workshop about the maintenance of reinforced adobe construction to people from different communities in the Mountain region of Guerrero, such as Ojo de Agua, Paraje Montero, La Ciénega, Malinaltepec, Laguna Seca, Llano Pantanoso, San Luis Acatlán, Llano de Heno, La Taberna, and La Soledad.

Center for Indigenous Education in Ojo de Agua

The last details of the Supervision Center for Indigenous Education in the community of Ojo de Agua are almost finished, and it is expected to be inaugurated in June this year. Currently, we are building a dry toilet that contributes to reduce the contamination of groundwater systems and rivers in the region.

The technique of earth plastering over adobe walls has been well received by the people who have visited the center. This contributes to reduce a common practice in the region that consists on plastering adobe constructions with cement, which weakens the building because the cement prevents humidity of adobe walls from being released.

Considering the right to adequate housing a cultural right, the visual artist Mariana Castillo proposed to develop a series of earth stamps to plaster the Center inspired by an ancient codex called “Códice Azoyú”, a pictographic testimony made during the second half of the 16th century that tells a part of the history of the region, very important for the culture of the indigenous group called Me’phaa.

Environmental Classroom in the Intercultural University

The Self-Construction of the Environmental Classroom Project in the Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero (UIEG, in Spanish) had to be rescheduled due to the raining temporary coming soon, so it was not possible to start the constructive process this year. Nonetheless, we decided to advance in the formative process of the students and the production of all the adobes that will be used for the classroom is already finished.

We implemented workshops about safe housing and risk management, as well as a hands-on workshop to make adobes with students from 2nd and 6th semesters that are studying the careers of Sustainable Development and Alternative Tourism, whose subjects converge with the themes addressed in the project proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria to the UIEG.

In this context, the students also visited the Centers for Indigenous Education in La Ciénega and Ojo de Agua, so they could identify the reinforcement and habitability components in the constructive system proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria.

Inauguration of Center for indigenous education
Inauguration of Center for indigenous education
Workshop about construction maintenance
Workshop about construction maintenance
Earth stamp plastering based on ancient codex
Earth stamp plastering based on ancient codex
Hands-on workshop to make adobe bricks
Hands-on workshop to make adobe bricks
Safe housing and risk management at University
Safe housing and risk management at University
May 20, 2019

Advances in the Reconstruction of Habitat Project

Interviews and collective evaluations
Interviews and collective evaluations

Cooperación Comunitaria AC continues strengthening the constructive and productive capacities of communities affected by the earthquakes of September 2017, through the Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat Project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca.

Kitchens, traditional bread ovens and comixcal bases

Until May 15, 2019, 154 comixcal bases have been built, which is a traditional oven where women in the region prepare totopos, tortilla toasts and other corn products mainly, to obtain income. From those, 86 have been built in Ixtepec, 25 in Niltepec, 26 in Chihuitán, and 17 in Xadani. In additon to this, 22 traditional bread ovens were also built in Ixtepec.

Through the reconstruction of such infrastructure, the economic activities of many women in the region has been recovered and strengthened, that was stopped abruptly due to the destruction caused by the earthquakes to their productive tools.

With the same purpose, Cooperación Comunitaria has implemented the construction of kitchens of bajareque cerén with the communities of Ixtepec and Niltepec, 13 in the first community, and 7 in the second one, which adds up to 20 until now.

Recently, it also started the construction of 2 school-kitchens in the public middle school “20 de Noviembre” of Ixtepec, that add up to the ones built previously in Ixtepec, San Francisco del Mar, Niltepec y Xadani; 6 in total. During this process, teachers, students and their families are recovering traditional earth constructive systems (called bajareque, but commonly known as “mud construction”) through activities of mutual support (called tequios), as they get to know the reinforced kitchen model with bajareque cerén —a different kind of the same technique that reduces environmental impact— proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria.

Moreover, we continued developing diagnoses and gathering information from different lands in San Mateo del Mar, where we presented the kitchens’ project to interested families on March 24, since we portray to build some kitchens there soon.

In all the communities mentioned, the participation of people in meetings, workshops and tequios has been crucial to consolidate the recovery of constructive traditions and strengthen the capacity building to react and recover after an emergency. 

Feedback and environmental projects

In one hand, as part of the Feedback project, we have developed several evaluations and conversatories with the participants of the Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction Project: inhabitants, construction workers and the field team of Cooperación Comunitaria. The meetings arranged with construction workers were meant to get to know what have they learned in the technical area but also personally during the whole process.

Also, we met with the women whose kitchens, bread ovens and comxcal bases were finished and that are already being used so they can let us know how they felt with the building process, the reconstructed space and with the operation of the ovens.

At the same time, we are developing interviews with each family to learn from their opinion about the constructive process, the successes and errors of Cooperación Comunitaria towards considering the participation of the housing inhabitants during the whole process, and their satisfaction level.

It is worth noting that some women participating in all of the projects (housing, kitchens, comixcal bases and ovens) organized a tequio to prepare a traditional dish in Mexico called barbacoa for the Day of the Holy Cross on May 3rd, during which construction workers are traditionally celebrated in Mexico.

In the other hand, as part of the environmental project, many productivity and environmental workshops have been developed with the participants to get to know their perception about the existing risk due to the lack of timber species; and the small actions being done for reforestation to ensure its preservation and avoid its depletion, since the families’ productive activities include the usage of firewood.

The workshops about environmental and natural risks have resulted in community risk maps and in the anticipation of actions to prevent and reduce the vulnerability against risks, such as the strong earthquakes, rains and winds identified in the region.

Additionally, we have continued to develop workshops to recover the traditional practices of prevention and maintenance, since one of the issues that caused more damage to housing during the earthquakes of 2017 was precisely the lack of maintenance, mostly in their roofs.

In the case of housing reconstruction, until now 15 new houses have been concluded and 36 have been reinforced completely, which adds up to 51 finished homes.

Center of Arts and Crafts

The first Center of Arts and Crafts in Ixtepec has been completely roofed, and we are only pending to place the floor, electrical installation, doors and windows.

This space will be managed by the community, through the local organization Comité Ixtepecano para la Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio, to develop workshops related to different traditional activities of the region such as carpentry, electricity and embroidery. It has also been suggested to implement itinerant programs that will be decided collectively, according to the proposals of the inhabitants.

Kitchens, ovens and comixcales in 3 communities
Kitchens, ovens and comixcales in 3 communities
Meeting to develop kitchens' project in San Mateo
Meeting to develop kitchens' project in San Mateo
Until now, 51 families have recovered their homes
Until now, 51 families have recovered their homes
Environmental and natural risk workshops
Environmental and natural risk workshops
First Center of Arts and Crafts in Ixtepec, Oaxaca
First Center of Arts and Crafts in Ixtepec, Oaxaca
Feb 27, 2019

Reconstruction of habitat continues in Guerrero

Mutual support activities with indigenous teachers
Mutual support activities with indigenous teachers

The third phase of the Comprehensive Reconstruction of Habitat project continues in communities of the Mountain region of Guerrero, affected by the hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in 2013.

Indigenous Education Supervision Center in Ojo de Agua

From December 2018 until now, we concluded the construction of the Indigenous Education Supervision Center in the community of Ojo de Agua, in charge of the me’phaa school teacher Concepción Maldonado, who has been managing local resources and labor support from the teachers in her zone. They collaborated thru a mutual support activity to produce slip straw (a mixture of clay, straw and water placed in the roof to provide acoustic and thermal insulation).

Inside the building, the walls were plastered with mud to contribute to the modification of a common practice in the region, consisting on flattening adobe walls with cement, which weakens the structure by allowing humidity into it. We will gather the opinions on this matter from the inhabitants in the region that visit the Supervision Center.

Besides, the constructive process of the Center of Ojo de Agua has served to continue training young people in the region. Five inhabitants collaborated and were trained by the communitary promoter Grabiel Cantú, who has showed an increase in his constructive abilities and has improved the model of reinforced adobe, proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria since he got involved into the project when it started five years ago.

Indigenous Education Supervision Center in La Ciénega

Next March 16, the other Indigenous Education Supervision Center will be inaugurated, which was built in the community of La Ciénega last year with the advice of Cooperación Comunitaria. It is located in the same region as the other one, at the municipality of Malinaltepec.

The design and architectural program for both Centers are different from each other and compared to the ones we have built before in other communities. During the last five years we have developed different models with the purpose of resulting with a diversity of architectural proposals for the housing that are foreseen to be built further on, so this way they adapt to the different family needs.

Sustainable Classroom at the Intercultural University

During December we participated in the Week of Involvement of the Intercultural University of Guerrero State, where we continued the conversations with students and other academic members about the project to Self-build a Sustainable Classroom to discuss the types of participation during the constructive process and, once it is finished, to continue with the workshops of social production of habitat, as part of the formative process agreed with the institution in 2017.

At the end of February, we will develop a workshop of participative design with students and teachers of the university, based on the architectural and structural proposal projected by Cooperación Comunitaria’s team of architects and engineer. Later, the constructive and formative process will start, the last one will include workshops about reinforced adobe housing and risk management.

Our work extends to other communities

Last month we did a walk/trajectory through the community of Zilacayota —municipality of Acatepec— whose authorities called us to begin a formative process on risk management, due to the growth of landslides during the recent rainy temporary. Previously, we had linked to this community when Cooperación Comunitaria brought the first donation after the devastation caused by the hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel on september 2013.

The authorities of the community will participate in the process, as well as a Committee elected during an informative assembly developed to attend the problem.

The project thru the community radios

Finally, the transmission of clips in different community radio stations has started, that reaches the populations of Metlatónoc, Tlatlauqui, Iliatenco, San Luis Acatlán, San Miguel del Progreso and Espino Blanco. The purpose of this production is to sensitize and inform about issues related to social production of habitat, such as cornfield recovery, prevention of risks caused by landslides, secure settlement thru reinforced adobe housing, and defense of the territory.

Strengthening building abilities of young people
Strengthening building abilities of young people
Different models that adapt to different needs
Different models that adapt to different needs
Collaborative design based on CC's team proposal
Collaborative design based on CC's team proposal
Our work extends to other communities
Our work extends to other communities
 
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