Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica

by Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica
Upskill a Community to Fight Poverty in Costa Rica

Project Report | Mar 4, 2019
Empowering People & Improving Living Conditions

By Cony Perez Del Valle | Program Manager

Dear Supporters,

El Cocal is a community located on a small peninsula a few minutes outside of Quepos. The community itself is an isolated and partially illegal settlement, home to Costa Ricans as well as many immigrant families from other Latin American countries, (Nicaragua, Cuba, and Panama).

Many of these people have come to Costa Rica to benefit from the political and financial stability offered, but in such a tourist-rich area as Quepos, people can struggle to earn a living unless they are able to draw an income from the foreign visitors.

Male residents of El Cocal are commonly employed in the fishing industry, work in Manuel Antonio hotels, or get involved with illegal activities. Families often partake in a more short-term, day-by-day livelihood rather than focus on their long-term future.

The children growing up in this environment do not have an understanding towards preparing for the future. Partially fuelled by lack of education in the community and partially by the transient and semi-legal nature of the community (many of whose members are seasonally unemployed and affected by drug and alcohol abuse), their attitudes towards education and life in general are reflected by these offsets.

Therefore, together with the community, we have been working in designing a strategy to develop El Cocal.

One of the most important tasks has been to identify the needs of the community through its inhabitants. During the community development workshops, the people of Cocal have been able to understand the importance of being part of the process. It helps them to decide what they want for their inhabitants, how they would like to see their community in the future, and how they should participate.

During the process, it has been possible to empower people of the community. One example is a local woman named Cristobalina, she was mostly afraid of undertaking activities when first introduced to GVI. Though now she is developing her own business. She participates actively in every activity of the community. She is now also helping to organize people from the farthest areas of El Cocal to develop activities and projects in the area.

Another example of community empowerment are the people who participate in the English classes that GVI provides. It helps them learn another avenue of communication and in obtaining resources for their families.

During these months, we’ve been working with different partners such as the Distance University of Costa Rica, ASOMACAO AC, the Municipality of Quepos, and the Local Theatre-COPAZA.

Together we are looking to develop the social conditions in Cocal. Helping the community to discover their strengths and provide them with more tools for their personal growth.

Workshops

More than 50 families have been interviewed in order to know about their health conditions, their personal interests, and dreams for their community.

During the community development workshops, we gave back all the information we requested and recreated the history of Cocal through the stories provided from members of the community. We initiated a community mapping formed by the children and adults and made a comparison of the things they like and dislike about their community.

We also conversed with the community, better understanding their aspirations for Cocal and determined the strengths that are present in the inhabitants.

During the analysis, the participants discovered and highlighted both the aspects that must be maintained within the community and the hindrances that must be avoided for the betterment of its future.

We are now moving in the right direction to building a stronger sense of belonging, identity, and community.

Maintenance in the Community centre

Part of the funds requested are being used to purchase healthy snacks for the children. Due to the lack of resources in their families, children eat very unhealthily and develop bad nutritional habits.

We also use the funding for materials and supplies for the Childcare program. The activities we carry out during the program help the children to be out off the street, learn about new topics, and strengthen reading and writing. The children’s literacy is quite deficient, especially now since schools just reopened after six months off due to the nationwide governmental strike.

Another part of the funding goes towards the maintenance of the Community Centre. This is where we carry out the activities for Childcare and the English classes for the community. The community also uses the space to host workshops, community events, and town hall meetings. It has become a staple of El Cocal and an important pillar and resource to the community.

Lastly, this year we repaired the bathroom, the piping for water supply, and painted the kitchen and part of the gates. Due to its proximity next to the sea and the heavy rainfall during Green Season, the Centre damages and rusts quite easily and is always needing fixes and renovation.

What is next?

In continuing our work in Cocal, reinforcing the importance of being participative is essential. As we build more relationships and have more active members in the community, GVI’s Community Development program grows, resulting in progress of El Cocal at large.

Furthermore, we wish to continue our focus on healthy eating. Having support in offering nutritional workshops and continue to provide healthy snacks for the children.

One of our most significant emphasises is keeping our safe spaces for children and the rest of the community. That is why it is a necessity to repair both the roof of the Community Centre and the playground nearby. As previously stated, the Community Centre is an essential part of Cocal that the community relies on for a plethora of usages and the playground is a fun, open space that the children use on a frequent basis. It is urgent that the broken areas of the playground be fixed and to replace part of the roof before the rainy season commences.

Thank you for your incredible generosity. It is greatly appreciated. The huge progress being made in the El Cocal community cannot occur without your kind support.

With Gratitude, 

Costa Rica, Community

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Organization Information

Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Tyrone Bennett
London , London United Kingdom
$30,684 raised of $45,000 goal
 
374 donations
$14,316 to go
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