Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake

by Cooperación Comunitaria A.C.
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake
Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake

Thanks to your past generosity, the families of Oaxaca are fulfilling their dream of equipping their home with a new sustainable and traditional kitchen.

 

1- kitchens are growing

In San Miguel Chimalapa, in the community of Las Conchas, after the participatory design, the families meet to define cooperation agreements in terms of people's involvement, acquisition of local materials, schedule and security, among others. We have gathered all the agreements, tasks and responsibilities in a "commitment letter" signed by all the participants and Cooperación Comunitaria. Moreover, a committee was made up by the designation of three women, who will be in charge of calls to meetings and process management. With the signing of the "commitment letter" the implementation has officially started. Currently, 19 families are involved in the construction of their kitchen. We have closed 2022 with 6 covered kitchens and we continue working on 8 more. 

Juana, while plastering her kitchen with mud, shared with us: “I really like my kitchen. Before I used to spend time inside the kitchen, never seeing it. Now I like to stay  outside just to see it. I am happy because my husband and I built it together and now I see that it is not that difficult”.

 

2- Community participation and self-management

The social production of habitat is the process in which people dream, design, plan, build and appropriate living spaces. The Las Conchas community knows this very well, since they are participating throughout the process, recovering their traditional practices of community work (tequio or mano vuelta).

In the Chimalapa region, the communities organize tequios with their family to build the roofs, which is very important to lower construction costs and strengthen the social fabric. Auria and Georgina explained that in angpon language the tequio is called “netsan tsco oye”, and it means “I am going to help you”.

Through the tequio, people can give their contribution according to their abilities and possibilities. It is very exciting to see all the members of the community, including women, children and the elderly, organize to contribute by building, providing food and water, transporting materials, throwing mud to raise the walls, and gathering wood for the roofs. The community work is basic to share and transmit the traditional knowledge to the youth. 



3- New challenge for 2023: design and build a wood-saving oven adapted to the climate, geology and culture

The families, especially the women, are designing their oven through participatory design workshops, which are aimed at identifying the routines, problems or obstacles that women present when cooking on wood stoves; collect data on ways to save energy and decrease the use of firewood; identify the bases of the design of a wood stove adapted to local materials, that can satisfy the needs of each woman and that improve the conditions of habitability. 

They shared with us some challenges, among which they need to take care of the use of firewood to optimize the amount of wood as well as to save time; the smoke affects the eyes and the respiratory system and wears out the pots; on various occasions, they need larger, more resistant and lower spaces to to adopt healthier and safer postures. 

The level of participation that women have had in the design of the stove has been surprising. After an initial mistrust and timidity, the women began to feel that they were the owners of the stove production space, and expressed the core importance that this has in their lives and for their families.



Good news for 2023!

At the beginning of this new 2023 we want to wish you a year full of joy and peace, and we remind you that each new monthly donation will have your first donation matched at 100% after four (4) total payments.

If you donate $10 a month, you're donating $120 a year, which is what a safe, traditional stove and oven costs!

Kitchen wall
Kitchen wall
Kitchen's roof
Kitchen's roof
Participatory Design for the oven
Participatory Design for the oven
oven mockup
oven mockup
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Risk Assessment
Risk Assessment

 

  • Participatory Design means decrease vulnerability 

 

In the community of Las Conchas, in the municipality of San Miguel Chimalapa, 19 families have designed their traditional and sustainable kitchen and are ready to build it. During the participatory design we have jointly mapped several risks in the area, such as floods, unstable ground, earthquakes and landslides. Then we design the kitchens, starting with the location. Participatory design aims to choose the characteristics that best fit the context and the needs of families, reducing local vulnerabilities, to favor safe settlements.

 

  • Participatory Design means decision making

 

The families designed different spaces with tables, stoves and storage rooms of different dimensions according to their uses, allowing the architects to understand what elements make up the traditional kitchen, how users feel more comfortable in the space and why it is distributed in a certain way. They all agreed to put the side door, since, according to their constructive culture, the front door is associated with a church. 

Participatory design is fundamental because it allows the inhabitants to be included in the construction of the habitat based on their knowledge, needs and interests. It generates a sense of belonging and appropriation of the project and thus increases its sustainability over time. It also promotes self-management since it allows the inhabitants to be an active part in decision-making.

 

  • Design with people and not for people 

 

Architectural design is usually an activity carried out by technicians, aimed at solving a housing problem through a standardized and replicable solution, prioritizing market criteria over the will of the inhabitant.

In the processes of social production of habitat, participating in the construction of our spaces is a fundamental right. That is why participatory design is essential for communities to exercise their right to produce, modify and improve their habitat according to their needs, culture and way of life.

Finally, the objective of participatory design is not the construction itself, but the improvement of people's quality of life.

 

 

  • The power of the crowd

 

This week, your generosity will increase!

Any donation you make to the project Rebuilding communities affected by 8.2 earthquake between the 12th and 16th will be multiplied by @GlobalGiving, even more so if it is recurring.

Donating $10 monthly, in a year you will have achieved that an angpon family from the Chimalapas, in Oaxaca, have a traditional, sustainable and safe stove.

Working with local materials and recovering ancestral knowledge is the key to preventing disasters.

With your contribution we can improve the quality of life of women in San Miguel Chimalapas!

Model
Model
Participatory Design
Participatory Design
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Ikoots women doing "tequio"
Ikoots women doing "tequio"

Back to San Mateo del Mar: Women continue self-building with local materials.

We are very excited to share with you, that after two years that reconstruction activities were suspended, in the community of San Mateo del Mar due to socio-political issues, the reconstruction of women's productive spaces have been resumed.

Since then, many women could not finish the construction of their kitchens. Even so, thanks to the constant communication through digital media with the local women's organization "Monapaküy" and the participants of the process, we arranged several visits to evaluate the possibility of restarting the pending construccions, in wich by common agreement through community assemblies, we agreed to continue activities.

The "Ikoots" women have shown us their perseverance and great strength of collective work. Thanks to the "tequios" they have organized, they have already finished the kitchens of Elisa and Daniela, and those of Virginia, Rocelia, Katya and Gemima are still in construction process using local materials such as palm, wood, earth and stone.

Exchanging knowledge to conserve cultural heritage

Since we finished the construction of earth homes for the 10 families of La Blanca, at the beginning of this year we have continued the participative evaluation stage with collective workshops and spaces to share ideas. 

During the conclusion of this process we have also focused on the exchange of technical knowledge between participants, with the goal of maintaining and improving the earthen constructions that have been already built, such as: houses, kitchens and composting toilets.

Most of the exchange of knowledge was nurtured by the oldest members of the community, who remembered and shared the ancestral ways of maintaining and repairing their homes.

Recovering the forest and food sovereignty in La Blanca

Over the last months, the inhabitants of the community of La Blanca have continued the reforestation. To ensure the growth of the young trees, the participants are organized in "tequios" (traditional community work based on mutual support) , to bring them water and nutritious soil. One year after the beginning, the group has evaluated the process with participatory exercises to provide feedback.

As a result of this collective organization, the participants gathered forces to continue growing plants, but now with the objective of growing their food sovereignty. The group of young people, women and men asked "Cooperación Comunitaria" for advice on how to create family productive gardens, and for this purpose, a place has been adapted as a Community Garden, to practice their skills and exchange their knowledge and experiences within the group. 

Currently they have  grown vegetables and medicinal plants and during the process, the community has emphasized the need to revalue traditional ways of farming, including the use of simple tools and community work.

 

In these times marked by conflicts, epidemics and instability, Cooperación Comunitaria continues in its mission to strengthen the rural communities in their sovereignty and self-management. 

We are deeply grateful for making it possible!

Danielas kitchen
Danielas kitchen
Preventive maintenance workshop
Preventive maintenance workshop
Participants sharing their knowledge
Participants sharing their knowledge
Growing plants in La Blanca
Growing plants in La Blanca

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Bajareque House in La Blanca
Bajareque House in La Blanca

 

  • Self-management and autonomy strengthened in La Blanca 

With the tequio (traditional community work) for Anita's house, in La Blanca community, we culminated the social and comprehensive reconstruction of houses. In 2021, 10 families recovered their homes, participating in their social production and self-construction,  with the traditional construction system called Bajareque. 

Natural disasters accentuate inequalities, damaging the social fabric. Thanks to the technical advice as well as by working through “tequios”, families together with friends and neighbors learn to build and maintain safe spaces against strong winds and earthquakes, exchanging and creating knowledge. The tequio is the space to rebuild not only homes, but also the sense of solidarity and Community.

During the process, the families had the opportunity to strengthen their construction skills, recover the traditional practices of community work and feel the importance of the right to adequate housing. 

 

  • Saving the forest in La Blanca: the nursery and the ecotechnics

 During the last three months of 2021 the reforestation process had an exciting end. 560 trees were distributed among the participants. Most have been planted on community land, 30 have been planted in the gardens of the houses built in La Blanca.

People who participated in three local specimen nurseries have testified that they learned a lot about their own natural heritage. Now they know how to distinguish the cycles of the seed harvest calendar; how to recognize and store the seeds; and they know the principles of environmental education. In addition, the young people who were involved during the process, triggered a new community debate on environmental issues throughout generations. They also learned the power of community work for the common good. The three local promoters trained during the process (Marcelina, Marili and Sandra) are now ready to spread their knowledge in nearby communities.

 

In the same period, 7 women, Sandra, Sara, Olga, Elida, Sandra R, Marcelina and Marili, got together with local advisors of Cooperación Comunitaria to develop an ecological stove, in order to stop the strong deforestation in the area decreasing the use of wood. 

Through a participatory and educational process, led by a national expert of ecological stoves and accompanied by cooperacion comunitaria, they have designed and built a new oven model, equipped with both an ecological stove and an ecological comixcal oven (traditional clay oven), and with an extractor hood for cooking fumes.

This eco-technique, in addition to the obvious environmental and health benefits (protecting women from respiratory diseases), is adapted to the local culture and can allow women to recover or strengthen their productive project and continue to protect the local food culture.

 

  • Women together to enhance food and constructive sovereignty 

 During the last quarter of 2021, with the Marquelina, Bernarda, María Elena and Elia families, we began in Chimalapas the self-production of 4 kitchens, built with Bajareque, which are sustainable, adapted to the local climate and culture and reinforced against strong winds and earthquakes. Thanks to that, women can restart their economic life and enhance food sovereignty, in a safe and comfortable space.

The Municipality of San Miguel Chimalapa, on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, is an area of high cultural and ecological diversity, but highly marginalized, where the 6,711 inhabitants speak their native language. The loss of traditional knowledge, the fragmentation of the social fabric and deforestation have left communities very vulnerable to socio-natural events.

Two earthquakes (2017 and 2020) severely hit the communities of Chimalapas, destroying lives and the economy and installing a climate of fear and insecurity. Four years later, the pandemic increased the unemployment rate, worsening the situation of affected families, especially women.

 

  • Next steps

2022 is expected to be a year rich in news, despite the epidemiological circumstances. Together with the women of San Miguel Chimalapas we are going to build sustainable and safe kitchens and firewood-saving ovens. With that, we will recover the local food culture, save the forest and reduce the vulnerability of the communities. 

 

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!!





Interior of a Bajareque house
Interior of a Bajareque house
Ecological and safe stove&oven
Ecological and safe stove&oven
Planting trees in La Blanca
Planting trees in La Blanca
A "tequio" to build a Bajareque Kitchen
A "tequio" to build a Bajareque Kitchen

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self building in La Blanca community
self building in La Blanca community

Introduction

This month has been 4 years since the devastating earthquake that shocked Tehuantepec Isthmus on the 7th and 23th of September. An earthquake on 7th of September of this year, reminds us of our commitment with the communities to enhance their resilience and the decrease of their territorial vulnerability through a comprehensive methodology based on 3 basis: holistic approach, collective participation and socio-environmental perspective.   

After the 2017 earthquakes, the patrimony of thousands of people was partially and totally affected and the indigenous community's vulnerabilities deepened. Rural houses and women’s productive infrastructure were totally lost. Immediately after the events, CC arrived in Ixtepec in order to start a Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat project, working with communities to reactivate productive activities, environmental restoration and promotion of mutual support that reinforced social ties. 

After four years of rebuilding processes with people of 5 different municipalities of the region, the reconstruction process continues with La Blanca community. The work we carry on, aims to strengthen capacities that improve resilience and reduce vulnerabilities especially since the pandemic arrived. 

 

Comprehensive and Social Reconstruction of Habitat in La Blanca

The technical advice and social accompaniment  extended to La Blanca community since 2018, where 38 kitchens and 38 traditional ovens were built for the reactivation of productive activities of women in order to improve the local economy.

We currently assess the reconstruction and reinforcement of 10 households with the traditional bajareque constructive system and 8 composting toilets that generate fertilizer to nourish the earth without wasting any water. During this process we have reflected with the communities about the importance of self-management and the care of natural assets. 

 Strengthening capacities for reducing vulnerability

We developed these actions without significant difficulties related to the pandemic. Nevertheless, since last July infections directly affected the population of different communities. In fact we can say that in many rural localities in Mexico, that didn´t represent a big proportion of the national cases, started to appear in the statistics, increasing from June to September. This situation has affected the collective work towards mutual support for constructive, productive and environmental activities.

From an operative perspective the intensity and rhythm of labor changed, because we had to slow down the self-construction of kitchens and houses, and had to refresh security protocols  in order to prevent infections. Unfortunately, some participants or their families got sick and their groups had to stop working. But as they had recovered, they gradually retook the work.

However, these eventualities have allowed us to implement safety response, prevention as well as reinforce awareness for the team, participants, promoters and communities. That is completely articulated with the component of the project about Risk Management that we have been implementing and improving along the whole process of reconstruction. This is understood because after this awareness and construction of measures which also require a collective reorganization, we realized that the topics of epidemics and zoonotic diseases are related with the risk management approach, and it broadens the perspective.   

Socio Environmental perspective

As part of the socio environmental perspective in the reconstruction process, we have restored the environment with the community which is intimately related with the knowledge of territory.

In fact, the rescue of traditional constructive systems with local materials implies a big responsibility with the environment. That is why we boost forest restoration in parallel with building processes. Throughout this rescue, the social relationship of respect and care of mother nature has been revalued.

The implementation of the tree nursery has been a participatory and practical process, even though it had to be stopped owing to COVID-19, for now the seeds have germinated and plants have grown enough to be transplanted. People are excited to restart activities towards reforestation as soon as the situation gets better to have communitary meetings. The evaluation of this process will help us to replicate reforestation actions in other communities.

 

Thank you for being part of these achievements! 

reinforced bajareque structure against earthquakes
reinforced bajareque structure against earthquakes
families self-building with local materials
families self-building with local materials
hand in hand work for self-building of houses
hand in hand work for self-building of houses
self building with reinforced bajareque system
self building with reinforced bajareque system
social reconstruction with La Blanca women
social reconstruction with La Blanca women
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Organization Information

Cooperación Comunitaria A.C.

Location: Ciudad de Mexico - Mexico
Website:
Project Leader:
Isadora Hastings García
Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico
$30,457 raised of $40,000 goal
 
218 donations
$9,543 to go
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