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2020 – Nicaragua

Technology for Improved Learning and Education in the Bosawás Region of Nicaragua (TILE) Project

Partner: Change for Children (CFC)

Background

The indigenous territory of the Miskito is located in the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve. Bosawás is one of the most remote regions of Nicaragua, reachable only by a nine-hour journey in a dugout canoe along the Rio Coco. The Miskito live a precarious existence where only 50% of the people are literate. In a region challenged by location that sees the people here being marginalized by the centralized government, a river that makes trade and economic activities challenging, and natural disasters that threaten a way of life that relies on the land.

Barriers to educational achievement in this region include: 1) poor quality education at all levels; 2) a lack of educational resources; 3) untrained teachers; 4) the absence of culturally and linguistically appropriate or adapted curriculum; 5) gender inequality; 6) a high drop-out rates as a result of social and economic factors, including early pregnancy; 7) a lack of community support for secondary education, especially for girls; and 8) the marginalization from technology and government support for education due to remoteness and a lack of statistical data.

Project objectives

Specifically, the TILE project will:

    1. Provide Mobile Learning Labs (MLLs) to each of three indigenous communities, Walakitang, Yakalpanani and Tuburús. Additional grants from Global Affairs Canada for four other communities mean that Change for Children (CFC) will have the resources to provide MLLs to all seven educational zones (communities) within Nicaragua’s most remote indigenous territory.
    2. Provide technical and pedagogical capacity-building, and ongoing support to schools and teachers in all seven communities. The goal is to maximize the potential for improved learning in teacher-led instructional time. Each community or school will also select a promising tech-savvy youth leader to act as the local technology facilitator, who will be trained to provide technical support and basic training to MLL users. MLLs will also be available for student self-directed learning after school with oversight by the technology facilitators.
    3. Curate and develop content for the RACHEL to promote improved education, gender equality and SRHR (sexual reproduction and health rights). Translation into the local indigenous language and the production of videos featuring local role models are key components of this project.
    4. Generate data that can be used by the local indigenous government to support their goals of improved access, quality and equality in education. The digital information tracking function of the technology included in the project will allow CFC to collect and continually update the data on participant teachers and students to monitor their achievement in cognitive education, skill development and gender equality goals. This data can then be used to present to governments, universities (which offer a myriad of training and scholarship opportunities), civil society funding agencies, and multilateral institutions highlighting the marginalization of students in the Bosawás region.

Why partner with Change for Children?

This will be our third project with CFC. Over the past ten years, CFC has supported the construction of seven secondary school buildings, two with funding from 60 million girls, in Bosawás. While school construction was essential to facilitate expanded access to education, CFC is now focused on improving the quality of education there. With our support, CFC has just recently completed the implementation of a project entitled Technology for Improved Education in Guatemala to provide access of the MLLs to over 8,000 students. CFC has learned the importance of the following: permanent in-school tech support, lesson plans with integrated RACHEL applications, contextually and culturally adapted resource materials, security measures, and opportunities for knowledge exchange. They will be able to apply these lessons learned in this proposed project in Nicaragua.