Education & Preservation in the BOSAWAS, Nicaragua
Since 2004, Project HOPE, now called Ceiba Association, has been working in the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve, in collaboration with indigenous communities and other NGOs, to promote community development projects in areas of education, health, environment and gender equality. Most recently, Ceiba assisted in constructing a secondary school in San Andres in August 2010, which has benefited the lives of 500 students and 6 teachers.
Project Name: Project HOPE is raising approximately $75000 to build and stock two libraries in in the villages of San Andres and Yakalpanani, in the BOSAWAS Bipshere reserve of Nicaragua. The project also includes multiple cultural activities around the theme of literacy. The BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve, the second largest tropical rainforest ecosystem in the Americas, is known as the ‘lungs of Central America,’ and is home to approximately 32,000 Miskito and Mayagna indigenous people living in the isolated zone of north-central Nicaragua. San Andres is the largest community in the BOSAWAS, and serves as a regional centre for many surrounding villages. Secondary education is limited in this region: the majority of students do not pursue their education past the eighth grade, nor do they pursue higher education to become professionals. Individuals who live in the region have limited or no access to books and teachers specifically have extremely limited access to educational materials needed to run a classroom, including texts for both teachers and students.
Regional Challenges: Indigenous groups in the BOSAWAS are facing the highest rates of illiteracy, poverty, malnutrition, and vitamin deficiencies in Nicaragua. According to the World Health Organization (2005), the region has the highest numbers of 'stunted growth' amongst children five years and younger due to severe malnutrition. The effects of climate change, including unpredictable precipitation rates, drought, plagues, and natural disasters are devastating food production and security in the region.
Impact:The entire communities of San Andres and Yakalpanani will be direct beneficiaries of the library construction, and indirectly, the entire population of the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve (32,000+) will be touched by the results. Formally educated people in this region are few and far between, forcing the population to rely on non-indigenous labour, consultants and politicians to occupy positions of responsibility for infrastructure development, agricultural training, education, medical care and business promotion. The libraries will provide the indigenous population with resources for teachers and students to improve the education in the region. It also gives individuals the opportunity to pursue education outside of regular school and enhance their ability to make intelligent and informed decisions for their people and the forest.
Partners: Change for Children Association (CFCA) is an Edmonton-based NGO with 35 years of history promoting community development in Latin America and Africa. CFCA has worked in the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve for over 10 years, and is currently one of the only non-governmental agencies working with indigenous governments.
Centro Humboldt is a Nicaraguan-based NGO that focuses on promoting community development and environmental sustainability. They have been working in the BOSAWAS zone since 1992, providing indigenous capacity training, agricultural technology, funds for health and water projects, and conflict mitigation between indigenous and non-indigenous groups.
ADEPCIMISUJIN and MAKALANA Indigenous Associations represent indigenous populations living in the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve, and have been working to lobby the Nicaraguan government for many years. In 2005, they were officially recognized with rights to govern and manage their traditional lands.