Building resilience with communities of Guerrero

by Cooperacion Comunitaria A.C.
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Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Building resilience with communities of Guerrero
Families rebuilding homes and hope
Families rebuilding homes and hope

Despite the pandemic and all the economic consequences it has had on the communities, the Guerrero families together with our team achieved amazing results in 2021: together we built 18 houses, made with reinforced adobe systems, through a collective process led for the community.

Let us tell you this story through the direct voice of the participants.

 

  • Families together rebuilding homes and restoring hope

Rogelio and his family were homeless. During the pandemic they returned to their community without resources. He, Estela, his wife and his two children worked hard together to build their own house. From the first day it was finished they planted many flowers and Rogelio said “this proves that nothing is impossible. Thank you for allowing us to have a home to stay." Andrea is a single mother of two daughters and a son, who used to live in a wooden shack, together with her sister's family. She participated with her son in the whole construction process, cooking for the workers and doing anything useful to complete the construction. Now that they have an adequate and safe house, she comments “life can knock you down but you can get up and fulfill your dream”.

 

  • Houses built for the people and by the people

The families participated from the assessment, participatory design and planning of the houses, sharing their expectations, their traditional  knowledge and their labor. Thanks to that, these houses are fully adapted to the climate, geology and culture of the Me'phaa region. They also respect the family life cycle, because they have been made with the possibility of growing and changing as the families’ needs does. That is why Evaristo says “We made this house to our liking. That is why it is even more our home”. And Bartolomé adds “I am happy because what I wanted and needed was reflected in my house”.

 

  • Local&Natural is the best choice 

Teacher Erica was one of the strongest local promoters of the project. She told us that people did not recognize the potential of local materials, as they are fleeing the communities in search of work and forgetting their traditions. After the social production of the 18 houses, they regained confidence not only in local materials but also in their traditional practices and knowledge. Ulises said “I learned from this experience to value the earth more because now I realize that it has many uses. The earth is never canceled, it does not rot, even the earth can be turned into paint”. Profetiza comments “I feel satisfied to be part of an important achievement, which allows us to preserve the tradition and culture of this Me'phaa region”.

 

  • Next steps

In 2022 we will accompany the families in new challenges. They will build sustainable and traditional kitchens to complete their home. Moreover, a group of women from other two communities will design and build an ecological stove, strengthening their skills as forest defenders. Another group of families will promote the food sovereignty, reactivating their backyard gardens to produce vegetables according to agroecological methods. 

 

We want to extend our greatest gratitude to you, both for what we have achieved and for the new path to which you are contributing.

 

We wish you a happy new year!!

Women and children helping to build
Women and children helping to build
Recovering traditional knowledge of grandparents
Recovering traditional knowledge of grandparents
Local materials respect culture and environment
Local materials respect culture and environment
Revaluing the earth as a building material
Revaluing the earth as a building material

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Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat
Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat

Introduction

The increase of resilience at the Guerrero communities has brought results due the improvement in the constructive, productive and environmental scopes. The communities have strengthened their capacities which have enabled them to resist threats such as hurricanes and earthquakes that 8 years ago damaged their houses and their crops. Thanks to the strengthening of the community ties, acquisition of knowledge on risk management, environmental restoration and the recovery of the traditional constructive techniques, the communities nowadays can face these threats with better capabilities and self manage a habitat more adapted to their needs, culture and environment. 

Self Production of 18 reinforced adobe households against earthquakes and strong winds

This trimester, Hurricane Dolores and a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, tested the self management and resilience of Ojo de Agua and La Soledad communities. This natural phenomenon is a constant threat for the Mountain Region of Guerrero communities, therefore, we have reinforced the traditional constructive systems of adobe training the different populations to build resistant houses against these threats, reducing the vulnerability.

The reinforced constructive system of adobe proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria and implemented in 18 households of Ojo de Agua and La Soledad, have proven its reliability since they didn't suffer any damage after the earthquake, unlike the traditional houses that are not reinforced.

Hurricane Dolores triggered hard rains and landslides which slowed down some of the collective work. Thanks to the organization process based on mutual support, the constructive activities gradually reactivated, reaching significant progress in the self-production of their houses. We share with you some photos of the process.

Self production of  community kitchen and wood saving stove at Obispo primary school

The scholar community of the Obispo primary school has agreed to self build a kitchen where students can learn about traditional cooking and the community can use the space for traditional festivities.

The reproduction of their comunitary traditions and ancestral knowledge strengthen Me’phaá`s indiginous culture by constructing identity that generates a sense of belonging and reinforces social and territory ties.

This kitchen was designed, planeded and self constructed by the scholar community with the technical advisors of Cooperacion Comunitaria’s team and its planned to be ready to use in the next few months.

Collective evaluation and furniture design for the Kitchen- Dinner of the Intercultural Primary School of Xochistlahuaca

We organized an evaluation activity with the scholar community of the Intercultural School  W´aa Yocanch'u Ncue that self constructed the kitchen-dinner. Through this process the school community  recovered the knowledge related to  the adobe traditional constructive system.

As part of the activity, teachers made a metaphor about the kitchen as a living thing in which the feet represent the structure, skin represent the adobe walls, windows represent the lung and the heart is the community that selfbuilt with love this kitchen-dinner.

The school parents and teachers designed through a participatory process and self managed the furniture for the kitchen-dinner, which responded to the school’s community needs.

This process has increased the self management capabilities of the community and has strengthened the primary school project that recovers native indiginuos language and promotes the rescue of traditional wisdom.

Restoration of traditional Me’phaà Houses

In Moyotepec, we restored 4 households with historic value for the community. After a long break of activities due to the increase of covid 19 cases,we gradually reactivated works in the field thanks to the prevention actions and sensibilization measures to avoid covid infections that we have implemented.These constructions of almost 100 years, promote the conservation of the Me’phaàs traditional building culture and remind us that adobe constructions can withstand through time with the adequate maintenance.

Planning and designing of the nursery garden with the Intercultural University of Guerrero

After the Aula Ambiental adobe building process and the participation of the Intercultural University of Guerrero students, we started the environmental restoration process, which aims to regenerate  the regional ecosystem.

For this goal, we planned with the University authorities and students the construction of a tree nursery  in which regional seeds will be planted to get the woods that the communities use for building and for cooking

 

THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF THIS PROJECT!!! 

Reinforced adobe houses against earthquakes
Reinforced adobe houses against earthquakes
self production of reinforced households
self production of reinforced households
Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat
Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat
Self production of wood saving stove at Obispo
Self production of wood saving stove at Obispo
Furniture design for the Kitchen- Dinner
Furniture design for the Kitchen- Dinner
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Xochistlahuaca's Kitchen-Dinner for primary school
Xochistlahuaca's Kitchen-Dinner for primary school

Since 8 years ago, Cooperación Comunitaria has been working with communities in the Comprehensive Reconstruction of Habitat in Guerrero, right away after Ingrid and Manuel hurricanes happened. During this time, we have strengthened the  relationship with different communities through the social accompaniment and technical advice to rebuild reinforced adobe housing and improve the productive aspects in order to reduce their vulnerabilities related to threats like earthquakes, landslides and strong winds as well as the effects caused by climate change.

The commitment of the communities in the reconstruction process has recovered the ancestral wisdom, as well as comunitary practices that constitute their traditional way of life. The recovery of ancestral knowledge reinforces self management as it revalues the building culture, strengthening their relation with the territory, therefore the use of local materials.

Social Production of Habitat with local materials in Soledad and Ojo de Agua communities

In the Soledad and Ojo de Agua communities, the reconstruction process of reinforced adobe housing is taking place. After the community assessment and participatory design processes, a self reconstruction process is taking place.  It has motivated the self management of the community in order to find and administrate all local materials such as stone, wood and adobe which are produced by the participants. 

All the process has been directed and accompanied by the local promoter Grabiel, who has been working with Cooperación Comunitaria since the beginning of the reconstruction. We have done integral risk management and building with local materials workshops, which have strengthened the local building culture, while he has been training two new architects in the reinforced adobe construction system. The construction process is at the stage of the walls and the participants already show their happiness to see their dream to build safe, sustainable and locally adapted houses come true. 

Wood-saving stoves for reducing vulnerability of women of La Ciénega

In the Ciénega community, we have concluded the autoconstruction of 25 wood-saving stoves with an active participation of women. These stoves heat more than the conventional ones and need less wood to function. They were designed to keep smoke out of the kitchens, which reduces lung and respiratory diseases.

The stove was named as “Juana Stove '' being that in the Me’phaa culture, Juana is the Tata Mbatsun (lord of fire) wife, who is responsible for taking care of fire.

The autoconstruction of these stoves was reached thanks to the support of the students of the Sustainable development career of the intercultural university of the state of Guerreo. These students received technical training in ecotechnics construction during 2018 and up to 2020.

Knowledge arises from this process,  nourishes the collective wisdom and generates consciousness and trust in the construction with local materials that make houses and kitchens more affordable.

Kitchen- Dinner for intercultural primary school of Xochistlahuaca

Together with the  Xochistlahuaca school community we have concluded the constructive process of the school’s kitchen-dinner for the bilingüal spanish-Ñomndaa primary school. The school’s dinner was self-constructed by the parents and teachers who also built a wood-saving stove “Juana”. This is the result of the design that was done together with the Guerrero Mountain women, the Cooperación Comunitaria team and the CESDER teacher Domingo, who is part of the 1050º pottery collective.

With these spaces we reduce the space vulnerability of the students and reinforce the primary school project  “A school for life”, an educational project designed for working with children according to their language, identity, culture and costumes, as well as recovering traditional culture. 

Reducing vulnerability of the school community of El Obispo

Together with the school community of El Obispo, with whom we have already worked in different stages of the social production of habitat, we have built a community kitchen of the primary school.

This process has reinforced the construction culture and knowledge of those who are still interested in building with local materials, which at the same time, makes the construction more affordable and has a lower impact on the environment. 

Because of its community use for collective festivities, all the community has participated in the participatory design, and construction process. 

 

We thank you for being part of this big effort! 

La Soledad adobe wall building
La Soledad adobe wall building
Social construction of habitat at La Soledad
Social construction of habitat at La Soledad
Wood-saving stove "Juana" selfconstructed by women
Wood-saving stove "Juana" selfconstructed by women
community work at Xochistlahuaca
community work at Xochistlahuaca
El Obispo School's dinner
El Obispo School's dinner
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Workshop on Comprehensive Self Management of Risk
Workshop on Comprehensive Self Management of Risk

During this trimester our work on reducing vulnerabilities in Guerrero communities has been strengthened thanks to the great commitment that communities have shown.

The pandemic has increased awareness about the necessity for an adequate hábitat that reduces vulnerability of the people from Guerrero mountain.This is why CC continues working on strengthening the communitary organization and sensibilizing people on the importance of comprehensive management of risk. In order to do so we generate comunitary analysis about landslides and other vulnerabilities and we transmit our technical knowledge of the adobe reinforced constructive systems against earthquakes and strong winds.

Social Production of Habitat for comunitary self management in the Guerrero Mountain

In La soledad and Ojo de Agua communities, both located in the Mountain of Guerrero, we carried out participative design workshops for autoproduction of reinforced adobe homes. Throughout organization and community participation, this process seeks to generate self management skills for the construction of safe, sustainable and adapted to local needs living places. 

As part of the process, we realized a risk map in hand with the technical team led by the geologist Rosalva Pérez from Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero. These maps allow us to understand the possible risk that can affect traditional settlements, deepen the communitary knowledge of the territory, as well as to warn about the places where possible landslides can occur. 

In parallel to these activities we imparted workshops on comprehensive risk management focused on reducing the vulnerability of the inhabitants. And we started the management and production of local materials. 

 

Wood-saving stoves for reducing vulnerability of women of La Ciénega

In La Ciénega community, alongside a group of 22 women, we realized a participative design process for the construction of a wood-saving stove. As part of this process, we have worked with women different dynamics that allowed us to identify with greater detail the sociocultural characteristics in order to realize a design that goes according to their needs, takes into account their traditional relationship with fire and reduces the vulnerabilities they face. Besides, we approached with them the used for the construction of wood-saving stoves and we dialogued about the technique that best adapts to their possibilities. 

 

Kitchen- Dinner for Intercultural primary school students of Xochistlahuaca

In the Xochistlahuaca community we retake the self-construction of the kitchen-dinner for students of the bilingüal- intercultural primary school W´aa Yocanch´u Ncue. Thanks to the collective organization of parents, teachers and school headmasters we went on with the adobe walls and the structure of the roof. This project has represented a challenge due the pause of presencial activities in school. Nevertheless, we are planning to finish the work during the next trimester.

Social production of habitat with Tierra Colorada, Santa Cruz del Rincón and Moyotepec communities 

After 7 years working with different communities in Guerrero Mountain, the results have generated a lot of interest in the region. This is why other communities have reached us in order to learn more about our project, as well as our collaborative methodology, part of the social production and management of habitat. 

In response, we carried out informative talks in Tierra Colorada and Santa Cruz del Rincón regarding CC work in the region. As part of these experiences in Santa Cruz del Rincón we realized a visit to the community center, made of adobe and clay tiles. 

As part of the visit we made a diagnosis for learning the affectations and work required for rehabilitation in the region. This  community center is very important for people, so we made an agreement to give technical and social advice for participative organization in order to rehabilitate the center. 

Also in Moyotepec community, along with interested families, we began working with the local material management like adobe, soil and wood required for the rehabilitation.

Environmental classroom Inauguration

It is with great happiness that we communicate that after several months of work we concluded the Environmental Classroom of the Intercultural University of Guerrero “Aula Ambiental de la Universidad Intercultural del Estado de Guerrero”. Due to the pandemic, the classroom was finished in May, but inaugurated the 30th of November 2020 in presence of authorities and Cooperación Comunitaria members. This classroom was built with the alumni, who learnt about the constructive system of adobe and familiarized with the local materials of the region. This classroom is an open space for the university community that may be used to teach subjects related with sustainability and for CC to do workshops on production and social management of habitat. It also is an example to show to the alumni that come from different municipalities of the Mountain of Guerrero the constructive system reinforced with adobe. 

Designing Wood-saving stoves
Designing Wood-saving stoves
Kitchen-Dinner for primary school,  Xochistlahuaca
Kitchen-Dinner for primary school, Xochistlahuaca
Adobe walls and the structure of the roof
Adobe walls and the structure of the roof
Informative talks in Santa Cruz del Rincon
Informative talks in Santa Cruz del Rincon
Environmental classroom Inauguration UIEG
Environmental classroom Inauguration UIEG
Participative design for home reconstruction
Participative design for home reconstruction
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Preventive measures in community work
Preventive measures in community work

We continue to implement strategies to face the challenges posed by the health emergency and the new reality. Our team has had to creatively search for alternatives to achieve the objectives, such as strengthening communication strategies among the different actors and groups with whom we collaborate. In this sense, the work of local promoters and the use of technology have been indispensable for the exchange of knowledge.

Likewise, we have gradually returned to working only in populations where the risk of contagion has decreased, while at the same time we have adopted safety measures, such as outdoor activities, social distance and tool sanitation. 

Environmental Classroom at the Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero (UIEG)

Once all the construction processes for the Environmental Classroom at the Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero (UIEG) were completed, we can count 39 students who received training on the reinforced adobe housing model, putting it into practice during the self-construction of the classroom. 

In this context, an important relationship that we have built over the years is with the UIEG, which in turn has allowed us to expand our immersion in the region. Therefore, we have seen the need to continue strengthening this relationship and to generate a curricular plan for the formation of students.

Likewise, up to now this is the largest community space (139 m2) carried out by Cooperacion Comunitaria in the region and the first to use clay tiles for the roof. The Environmental Classroom, besides being for community use, being in an educational center becomes a construction that promotes the use of tile as a solution made with local materials as opposed to galvanized sheet, a common material used in the region.

  • Ecotechniques in the Environmental Classroom

As part of the Environmental Classroom project, we carried out with UIEG students the Participatory Design of dry toilets (non-flush toilet) workshop in order to identify the elements that make up this ecotechnology. From a comparison between the linear drainage system and the closed-cycle system that maintains a dry toilet, together with the students, we reflected on the advantages and disadvantages that we found between the two systems. 

This allowed us to identify the malfunctioning of the municipality's drainage system and the contamination of the region's rivers. Likewise, this workshop preceded the self-construction of dry toilets by the students, which was postponed by the sanitary emergency derived from the COVID-19.

  • Upcoming activities

The process of building the Environmental Classroom has been hard and has represented a lot of commitment from students and teachers. With respect to the above, it is likely that the construction stage for the eco-techniques of the Environmental Classroom, such as the demonstrative kitchen and dry toilets, will be completed by the first semester of 2021 in order to improve the pedagogical process. However, we consider it pertinent to carry out in the following months the participatory design with the students, in order to be able to elaborate the architectural project by the Community Cooperation.

Indigenous Preschool Education Center (CEPI) in the communities of Ojo de Agua and La Cienega

During this period, 11 teachers from the Indigenous Preschool Education Centers (CEPI) were informed and sensitized with workshops on Environmental Risk Management and Elaboration of an advocacy plan on Social Production of Habitat on the exercise of the right to adequate housing. This allowed us to deepen the way in which CC collaborates with the communities within the framework of Social Production of Habitat (PyGSH by its Spanish acronym).

It is important to mention that the teachers represent 11 communities where they practice their profession and where in a direct way from an assembly of parents, they will transmit the reflections and learning obtained during the process of construction of the CEPI.

  • Self-construction of reinforced adobe houses 

After the conclusion of the work in the Indigenous Preschool Education Center (CEPI) in the community of Ojo de Agua, teachers from the school zone who participated in the production and management of this space were interested in carrying out a process of self-construction of reinforced adobe housing in their communities, within the framework of Social Production of Habitat.  

For this reason, during the last few months we visited the communities of Unión de las Peras, Ojo de Agua, La Soledad, and La Cienega, with the intention of making the first approach to the interested inhabitants and presenting them the work methodology of Community Cooperation.

The importance of this first approach to the four communities made it possible to learn from the habitants about their interest in becoming involved in a training, participatory and collaborative process. For now, it has been decided to begin the process of self-construction of reinforced adobe houses in the communities of Ojo de Agua and La Soledad. During the month of October, the necessary diagnostics will be carried out to begin a new process with these communities with the intention of being able to build 26 houses during the first semester of 2021.

Due to the fact that the traffic light of epidemiological risk in the region is in yellow, we continue with the sanitary safety measures recommended by the Secretary of Health.

Wood-saving stoves in the community of La Cienega

We have started the collaboration with 25 women from the community of La Cienega, interested in improving the living conditions of their kitchens as well as their stoves. During the months of November and December we will be carrying out the necessary diagnostics that will allow us to advance in the exercise of a participatory design of a wood-saving stove and the model of kitchen adapted to the region. 

Kitchen-dining room for Amuzgos childrens' house

After the beginning of two stages of the constructive process - elaboration of adobes for the building and the foundation - of the kitchen-dining room of the bilingual intercultural primary school "W'aa Yocanch'u Ncue" (The house of the amuzgos children in ñomndaa) in Xochistlahuaca, we had to pause the process in person due to the contingency derived from the COVID-19 and at the request of the school community since until the last days of May 2020 the contagion began in the region.

However, we continued to work remotely with the parent committee and the school teachers in order to resume constructive and formative activities during the month of November.

Indigenous Preschool Education Center (CEPI)
Indigenous Preschool Education Center (CEPI)
Assembly to begin self-construction
Assembly to begin self-construction
Environmental Classroom and mural
Environmental Classroom and mural
Adobe maintenance workshop with UIEG students
Adobe maintenance workshop with UIEG students

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Organization Information

Cooperacion Comunitaria A.C.

Location: Ciudad de Mexico - Mexico
Website:
Project Leader:
Isadora Hastings García
Ciudad de Mexico, D.F. Mexico
$83,428 raised of $150,000 goal
 
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