PRA in Centro Sanibeni: Conclusions
Education, work and health are at the heart of the community development project. Universal rights, inherent to every human being, are not always achieved in the most remote villages.
The community has prioritised, firstly, the construction of an educational institution that combines pre-, primary and secondary schooling, in an integrated manor, ie, one building made up of all three educational stages. Ideally, a public space would be created, where, in addition to being school grounds, people can meet, study, and amuse themselves. Community participation is vital for the appropriation and management of this space, thus ensuring its sustainability and maintenance.
So as to comply with the rules and expectations of educational system, the space must be large enough to accommodate all environments and sought spaces. In this case, the investment versus the number of beneficiaries would not be viable or sustainable. For this reason, an infrastructure with shared aims and multifunctional space is ideal; an incremental project which is able to grow whilst the population grows also.
There is a great weakness in the organization of the educational institutions. Also there is a division between the different educational levels: preschool, primary school, and secondary school, due to the lack of communication and planning between teachers and parents. The institutions are located (provisionally) in separate areas, creating a fragmented institution and a waste of resources and space: double school cafeteria, recreation area, and sanitary facilities for each level.
On the other hand, the lack of community organization is a cause that appears repeatedly in the problem trees. Issues such as poor road conditions, lack of a rural health clinic, and water sanitation can be solved if the community can organize itself for its own development. Therefore, it is important to incorporate trainings and workshops about community organization, leadership, and initiative to go along with the school construction process.
Farming improvement is another concern of the community. “Without production, there is no economy, no community, no development, nothing,” one resident explained. In a farming community, a lack of knowledge in pruning management, pest control or fertilization is a strong impediment to their progress. In that sense, agricultural training and technical assistance are fundamental pillars for sustainability on any project completed in the community. If there is no production, the community disappears.
Thus, a strong wave of emigration away from the Sanibeni Center has ensued, due to the coffee rust disease that has blighted the coffee harvest during the entirety of the 2014 season. Coffee plantations have been abandoned by their owners and only a few farmers have kept their farms. They are the ones that, today, suffer in the face of their prospective livelihoods.
Finally, we detected a pervasive memory of the era of terrorism that took place there until the 90s. The young talk about it, although they did not suffer through it. The older villagers have recurring nightmares. We understand that the community was strongly affected by terrorism, perhaps because of its strategic location.
PRA in Centro Sanibeni: Introduction| Stage I | Stage II | Conclusions
“She’s on the horizon… I go two steps, she moves two steps away. I walk ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps ahead.
No matter how much I walk, I’ll never reach her. What good is utopia? That’s what: it’s good for walking.”