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
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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Workshop in the environmental classroom
Workshop in the environmental classroom

We continue with the next phase of the Comprehensive Habitat Reconstruction Project in which we focus on two key factors. Firstly, through territorial analysis we seek to strengthen the organization, mutual aid and self-management between different actors and between different communities such as La Cienega, Ojo de Agua and Xochistlahuaca. Secondly, we continue working on risk reduction and management through safe construction with the reinforced adobe system. 


Development of the mural project «Codex Humboldt Fragment 1, Codex Azoyu 2 Reverse» in mountain community centres

From the collaboration with the plastic artist Mariana Castillo Deball and Cooperacion Comunitaria, the mural project «Códice Humboldt Fragmento 1, Códice Azoyu 2 Reverso» was created for community centers located in Guerrero´s Mountain. 

The murals were designed by the artist and for the production of the pieces, community promoter Grabiel thought of involving the women of his community (El Obispo, Malinaltepec, Gro.) because of their experience in kneading tortillas and whose consistency in making the tiles is similar.

In total, the community made more than 500 pieces of raw earth made with local materials from the Mountain of Guerrero, which would be used for the murals in the Environmental Classroom in the community La Cienega and for the Center for Indigenous Education (CEPI) in the community Ojo de Agua, both in the municipality of Malinaltepec, Gro. 

The murals represent the tributes that were paid to the mexica empire in the Mountain of Guerrero region. Their placement in community spaces made it possible to raise awareness about the local history and culture as well as the constructive possibilities of the land.


Next phase in the Environmental Classroom

Within the framework of the alliance with the Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero (UIEG) after 5 months, we finished all the constructive processes for the Environmental Classroom.

This space was finally used by the students in the workshop «Use and maintenance of adobe houses» which is part of a series of workshops of the formative program carried out with the students of the degree in Sustainable Development.

During this same period we held other workshops for field promoters and students where we explained land ownership for construction and the right to adequate housing. These activities together contribute to the objective of strengthening the exercise of rights and recovering traditional knowledge of construction with land in the region.

In addition to completing the construction work on the building, we completed the placement of the mural «Codex Humboldt Fragment 1, Codex Azoyu 2 Reverse», which consists of 156 raw earth tiles placed on the main facade of the building. 


Center for Indigenous Education in the community Ojo de Agua, Malinaltepec, Guerrero

After the inauguration of the CEPI, we completed the placement of the mural «Códice Humboldt Fragment 1, Códice Azoyú 2 Reverso» with the placement of 324 raw earth tiles, which were used to cover two facades of the building.

The placement of the mural required the participation of the 11 teachers who use this community center for the management and collection of local materials, as well as, the training of three local promoters for its placement.


kitchen-dining room for The house of the amuzgos children in Xochistlahuaca

After the period of diagnosis and participatory design with the members of the school community of the intercultural bilingual primary school W'aa Yocanch'u Ncue (The house of the Amuzgos children in ñomndaa), we started the planning and preparations for the construction of the kitchen-dining room that will serve to prepare and serve food for the children.

In addition to the preparations for the dining room, two stages of the construction process were initiated: the preparation of adobes for the building and the foundation. Both stages could be carried out thanks to regional collective work forms in which parents and teachers who received technical training in the reinforced adobe construction system participated.

Due to the contingency derived from the COVID–19 the constructive works were paused at the request of the school community since until the last days of May 2020 the contagion started in the region.

Workshop maintenance of reinforced adobe houses
Workshop maintenance of reinforced adobe houses
Production of tiles
Production of tiles
Raw earth tile
Raw earth tile
Mural
Mural
Mural at the CEPI, Ojo de Agua.
Mural at the CEPI, Ojo de Agua.

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Pajarcilla workshop at the UIEG
Pajarcilla workshop at the UIEG

After attending the emergency during the first three years, we continue with the next phase of the Comprehensive Habitat Reconstruction Project in which we focus on two key factors.

In the first place, through territorial analysis we seek to strengthen the organization, mutual help and self-management between different actors and between different communities such as La Cienega, Ojo de Agua and Xochistlahuaca. Second, we continue working on risk reduction and management through safe construction with the reinforced adobe system. This has generated our impact on public policies with the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development, the instance of the Mexican State responsible for planning, coordinating, administering, generating and executing public policies to ensure adequate housing and rural development, among others purposes. 

 

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

Through an agreement with the Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero (UIEG for its acronym in spanish) we established a strategic alliance to build with students and academics the Environmental Classroom with the reinforced adobe system, which is ready to be completed.

Likewise, we continue with a training process based on workshops by construction stage with the students. Among these we can mention the pajarcilla workshop, which is a natural insulation made of clay and straw; the participatory design workshop for dry baths and the natural clay roof tile installation workshop. This has brought the strengthening and recovery of traditional knowledge among young people of the university that their commitment will be to bring this knowledge to more than 18 municipalities and 22 communities where they are from.

On the other hand, in 2013, in the community of El Obispo, we started a series of training workshops in constructive capacities to train community promoters. As a result of this process, the promoters who were trained participated in all the constructions we have carried out in different communities in the region for seven years, including the Environmental Classroom.

 

Center for Indigenous Education in Ojo de Agua community (Malinaltepec, Guerrero)

As a result of the efforts of teachers to achieve an adequate physical and social development space for learning, and through collaborative work at all stages of the Social Production of Habitat we inaugurate the Center for Indigenous Education (CEPI by acronym in spanish), in Ojo de Agua community.

Prior to the inauguration we conducted a workshop with teachers to evaluate the construction process and thus be able to make a wider diagnosis for future stages aimed at resilience, as well as, improve subsequent construction processes.

 

A new kitchen-dining room for The house of the amuzgos children in Xochistlahuaca

This year we started working in the Municipality of Xochistlahuaca after parents of the W'aa Yocanchu Ncue bilingual intercultural elementary school (The house of the amuzgos children in ñomndaa), contacted us to begin a constructive process in the dining room- Kitchen for the students.

We begin with workshops-diagnosis of participatory design with children; with mothers, who take care of the kitchen; parents, who take care of the productive areas; and teachers who manage the elementary school, in order to define the conformation of the spaces.

Nowadays, the kitchen-dining room is made of metal sheet and wood, and in participation with the community, it was proposed to build a space with the reinforced adobe system that responds to local climatic needs, likewise, it will contain the elements, on the one hand, to prepare and serve food for students, and on the other, to function as a meeting space.

 

Documentary about the reconstruction in Guerrero

Within the strategic line to sensitize communities, public institutions and other actors interested in the importance of Social Production of Habitat, we presented the short documentary Voices of inhabiting the reconstruction of Guerrero Mountain in the University bonding week of the UIEG.

This week, we will also present at the Center for Architectural and Urban Culture (CCAU, for its initials in Spanish) in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

Environmental Classroom construction process
Environmental Classroom construction process
Workshops-diagnosis with children
Workshops-diagnosis with children
Workshops of participatory design
Workshops of participatory design
CEPI Inauguration
CEPI Inauguration
CEPI interior
CEPI interior

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Video projection about reconstruction in Guerrero
Video projection about reconstruction in Guerrero

In the last trimester, Cooperación Comunitaria (CC) started the following phase of the Comprehensive Reconstruction of Habitat project, which aims to strengthen the political advocacy and to diminish vulnerability to disasters on indigenous communities of the Mountain region of Guerrero. Our first approach (2013 - 2017) consisted in attending the emergency after the hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel, in 2013. Then, the last two years have consisted mainly in the risk prevention and management with the communities of La Ciénega, Moyotepec, and Ojo de Agua, located in the municipality of Malinaltepec. 

Construction of the Environmental Classroom in the Intercultural University

The Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero (UIEG, in the Spanish abbreviation), located in La Ciénega, is the meeting spot of the actors participating in the Environmental Classroom project: teachers, students and Cooperación Comunitaria (CC), whose activities started in the last months of 2018 with a series of workshops about secure settlements and risk self-management in the region; as well as practical sessions of earth construction and elaboration of adobe bricks.

In September and October we met with all the participants to define processes, responsibilities and a calendar of training workshops. The group that will participate in the proposed activities is formed by 24 students of the career in Community Development, who come from 11 of the 19 municipalities in the region.

Then, in November we started the construction of the Environmental Classroom with the reinforced system of adobe, and developed a workshop to sensitize about the importance of using local materials for construction as a cultural right. During this activity, we presented the documentary, produced by CC, called Voces del habitar en la reconstrucción de la Montaña de Guerrero (“Voices of inhabiting the reconstruction of the Mountain region of Guerrero”, translated to English) in order to think about the current situation in the region regarding the constructive processes. The video was chosen to be presented in January during the Engagement Week of the UIEG, that is addressed to the university community, and also people from other communities in the zone.

Restoration of housing in Moyotepec

This trimester we began a process of restoration and reinforcement of three adobe  houses in Moyotepec, that are historic benchmark to the community’s population. This housing have particular characteristics in their constructive system, for example, that all of them have round columns of adobe.

The purpose of this process is to sensitize the inhabitants to revaluate the adobe as a material for construction, through formative workshops and colaboratory work to improve their housing. Also, this contributes to counter the accelerated loss of traditional constructive knowledge. 

As a multidisciplinary team, we orientate learning collaborative actions/activities with the whole project’s participants. In addition, we build alliances that consolidate our action and transfer responsibilities for women and men.

The first activities consist in meetings about how the collaboration between CC and the participants of the process will be carried out. Besides, we gathered architectural data to analyze the structural system and develop a proposal for technical intervention.

Center for Indigenous Education in Ojo de Agua

At the Center for Indigenous Education in the community of Ojo de Agua we did a series of samples for an earth mural that will be developed on the walls of the Center. It is 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 mè’phàà.

This project is proposed by Mariana Castillo, a mexican plastic artist, in the context of the right to adequate housing as a cultural right. Through her artwork, significant parts of the codex will be chosen and placed as a way to recover a piece of the story in the Mountain of Guerrero, where it originally belongs.

Besides, in this period we concluded the construction of the composting toilet for the Center.

Presentation of documentary about the reconstruction in Guerrero

On October 30, 2019, we presented the documentary Voces del habitar en la reconstrucción de la Montaña de Guerrero in a cultural center in Mexico City, with the presence of Architect Enrique Ortiz and Magdalena Ferniza of the Habitat International Coalition - Latin America and Isadora Hastings, general coordinator of CC.

The video includes the testimonies gathered during six years of work, about different constructive experiences in the region: the ones built driven by the government through real estate companies; compared to spontaneous self-construction of the inhabitants; and the ones produced by the people with the reinforced system of adobe proposed and advised by CC.

This material responds to a strategy of generating audiovisual content to strengthen the processes that we are developing in the region, and to sensitize the communities, public institutions and other people interested, about the importance of building well, the right to adequate housing, vulnerability reduction, and the relevance of the social production and management of habitat.

The documentary was of great interest for the director and secretary of the National Housing Comission of Mexico, who shared it from their communication channels to have wider reach.

Construction of Environmental Classroom started
Construction of Environmental Classroom started
Restoration process of 3 adobe houses in Moyotepec
Restoration process of 3 adobe houses in Moyotepec
Earth mural based on significant local codex
Earth mural based on significant local codex
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Students of 31 communities participate on project
Students of 31 communities participate on project

This last trimester we have developed activities to evaluate the actions carried out during the Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat project in the Mountain region of Guerrero, in order to conclude Phase III and start designing the following stage.

For Cooperación Comunitaria is very important to receive feedback from the different participants of the project. So, we decided to advance in this process during the rainy temporary, since the constructions are inevitably stopped due to the climate conditions.

On one hand, in June we met in the Intercultural University of the State of Guerrero (UIEG, in the Spanish abbreviation) to identify how we can improve our work methodology with representatives of:

  • indigenous education teachers;
  • authorities, academics and students of the UIEG;
  • community promoters trained throughout the whole project;
  • and members of Cooperación Comunitaria.

It is worth recalling that in the University we started the project of the Environmental Classroom, where students from 31 communities and 15 municipalities will receive practical workshops about the reinforced constructive system with adobe, proposed by Cooperación Comunitaria, and about different eco-technologies.

Besides, to strengthen the evaluation we visited the community El Obispo, where the whole project started with the construction of community buildings, housing, composting toilets and wood saving stoves, along with Grabiel Cantú, a local promoter who learned all of these techniques and continues collaborating with our team as master builder.

On the other hand, mè’phàà (local indigenous group) poet Hubert Matiúwàa, who produced eleven radio capsules along with some inhabitants of the region, about themes such as defense of the territory,landslides risk prevention and self-management, deforestation, use of agrochemical products, construction with adobe, and the right to adequate housing; evaluated dissemination strategy of these in several community radios by applying questionnaires to their listeners.

Also, we worked on the final edition of a testimonial video about different ways of housing production in the communities of the municipality of Malinaltepec after they were affected by the hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel in 2013: the ones built by real estate companies, spontaneous self-construction of the inhabitants, and the ones produced by the people with the reinforced system with adobe proposed and advised by Cooperación Comunitaria.

The video addresses fundamental aspects such as: habitability, vulnerability, the degree of cultural, geological, climatological and productive adequation. The purpose of this material is to serve for advocacy towards housing policies of the current government; and to impact in post disaster housing models to improve their adaptation to sociocultural, environmental and economical aspects of the most vulnerable populations in Mexico.

Feedback from particpants of the project
Feedback from particpants of the project
We visited constructions concluded previously
We visited constructions concluded previously
Evaluating spreading strategy in community radios
Evaluating spreading strategy in community radios
Testimonial video about 3 housing production types
Testimonial video about 3 housing production types
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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
$84,548 raised of $150,000 goal
 
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