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Fall 2009-Spring 2010

Chloe Stuber, Warren Wilson College, F09: Authors of their Stories: How Youth Understand their Own Life Stories and How that Influences their Personal and Social Identities

     This research was conducted from August to November 2009 in Yaguita del Pastor, in the school of Miguel Angel Jimenez with the organization Acción Callejera, to determine what understanding children have of their own life stories and what is their personal or social identity.  The final objective was to describe the relationship between understanding their personal histories and their created identities.  A qualitative and descriptive study was created with different activities, direct observation and evaluation of the activities.  The results of the study showed that parents, school and culture affect the way children act in their daily lives and how they construct their personal identities.  The research concluded that the schools the children attend do not focus on individual performance, and that there is a lack of capacity for students to analyze and synthesize information that may help them reflect on their personal histories.  The recommendations of the study include: further discussions with adolescents about vital problems that may help them think critically about the Dominican education system; and a time within school to discuss how to be their own agents of change.

 Olivia Powar, Scripps College, S10: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Association Arte-a-Mano and How it Can Improve

     The following research begins with a historical and theoretical framework of the study and organization, Arte-a-Mano in Hoya de Camino, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  This includes information about the challenges of small businesses and how to overcome them, in order to pass this information to Arte-a-Mano. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the efficiency of Arte-a-Mano as an association and identify the areas in which the organization can develop and improve.  The research continues with a summary of the methodology used to collect data, which included interviews, a questionnaire and general observations with the artisans themselves.  The data collected found that there is a need to strengthen the solidarity and unity of the group and to support it in a tangible manner through workshops and socials together.  While this may satisfy many of the members’ expectations, the study discovered that there is still much more that Arte-a-Mano can improve to make it an efficient, effective and strong association.  The recommendations of the research include: using the guide and reconnecting with other similar organizations (like EMPRENDE), and creating a more formal system for adding new members.   

 Stephanie Carlson-Flynn, Kenyon College, S10: Rice, Beans and Juice: Research on Food, Malnutrition and Knowledge about Nutrition in Los Platanitos and Gurabito

     This research was conducted in the communities of Los Platanitos and Gurabito, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, between January and May 2010, with the collaboration of the organization Oné Respe and its community school.  The principal objectives were to identify the food eaten by the families of students and determine if there was a level of malnutrition; to detect the levels of awareness about food and nutrition for children; and to educate the families and students on the fundamentals of nutrition.  The results of the questionnaire given to families indicate that the biggest problem in the communities is a lack of knowledge about healthy balanced diets and a lack of financial resources to buy healthy food.  The majority of them have many children and insufficient food to feed them.  The results also showed that in the Dominican Republic there is a belief that a diet of solely rice and beans is sufficient.  This is not entirely true, so it is necessary to educate families about other feasible options.  The fundamental recommendations of this research are a series of workshops or meetings about healthy diets and a handout that describes the inexpensive and nutritious options that could be bought daily.  The lack of financial resources will not change but there are opportunities to improve the situation within these restrictions. 

Ashley Ditmer, Clark University, S10: An evaluation on the community school in Hoyo de Puchula

    The following evaluation of Acción Callejera’s community school in Hoyo de Puchula identifies the aspects of the school that function well and those that need improvement.  These factors were established through observations and formal interviews with the parents of the students.  The strengths include the teachers who worry about their students’ learning and the support of Acción Callejera inside and outside the school, which includes programs to better the community and support community empowerment.  Moreover, the community school is a safe environment where children can play without hazardous surroundings.  The weaknesses include a lack of parents’ knowledge about the school and the benefits of their children’s education, the inappropriate student behavior deriving from stressful and chaotic living circumstances outside of school, as well as the low student attendance levels.  This report includes recommended actions to improve the community school. 

Daniel Davis, Clark University S10: The lack of birth certificates and the factors that lead to youth working in El Fracatán

    The focus of this research is the Legal Support program at Fundación Educativa Acción Callejera in the neighborhood of El Fracatan, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  Legal Support consists of researching the high incidence of people, primarily children and adolescents, without birth certificates.  The historical framework describes the foundation, its objectives and its participation in the community El Frácatan.  The theoretical framework explains the situation of legal declaration and child labor in the Dominican Republic, in order to determine if there is a specific reason for the lack of documentation of children.  The study uses participant observation and interviews, as well as the expertise of lawyers at Acción Callejera.  The interviews illustrated aspects of everyday life in El Frácatan and the experiences of individual families.  The conclusion of the study provides recommendations for Acción Callejera in order to continue its involvement in El Frácatan and to create a declaration program in other communities. 

Rachael Sonia, Clark University, S10: The educational needs of the students of the community school in Los Platanitos

    This report examines students’ barriers to learning at One Respe’s community school in the marginalized community of Los Platanitos, Gurabo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  The research identifies second grade students who have learning difficulties, evaluates the way these difficulties are demonstrated in the classroom through performance and behavior, and discovers the outside causes of difficulties.  Through collaboration with the teacher, eight students from the class were identified as having special educational needs.  The design of the research uses eight case studies to explore the specific necessities of each student.  The study identifies problems of concentration, signs of dyslexia, health problems, lack of outside educational support, and Spanish as a second language as barriers to learning.  The analysis of the results suggests that the home life of students may seriously affect their educational performance.  The analysis also presents an opportunity to explore community solutions for the school.  In addition to the presentation of the research results, this report offers recommendations for future studies and presents a tangible project for the school.  The project includes a step-by-step guide to implement a system of individual education plans for students that face difficulties with learning and a collection of pedagogical methods and activities that help each educational need identified in the research. 

Kristina Dukes, Wofford College, S10: The Knowledge, attitude and perceptions of Dengue in the community of Las Colinas de Hato del Yaque, Santiago, Dominican Republic

    This research explores the knowledge and perceptions of, as well as attitudes toward the problem of Dengue in the community of Las Colinas, Hato del Yaque.  This study was created from the expressed need for a reference guide to provide to communities.  The research specifically analyzes the community’s understandings about Dengue and its attitudes toward lifestyle changes.  The research showed that the community was not well informed about Dengue fever and is dependent on authorities to fix the problem.  With the information provided in this research, the future organizations and workers in the community can better the health and quality of life in Las Colinas.       

Martha Black, St. John Fisher College, S10: The effectiveness of the teaching methodology of the PITS program (Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections) of the organization Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicamo (FCID)

    This is a case study that evaluates the teaching methods of a sexual health and prevention program of PITS (Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases) through Fundación Cuidado Infantil.  The research was executed in Santiago, Dominican Republic from January through April 2010 and identified the strengths and weaknesses of the program in order to evaluate its effectiveness.  This evaluation provides recommendations to improve teaching methodology and therefore improve the effectiveness in the communities in which they work.  The research incorporated multiple ways of measuring and collecting data, including interviews, questionnaires, tests and direct observations.  The results indicated that participatory education, group work, dramatizations and images are the most effective teaching methods for the staff and participants in the workshops.  The tests indicated that the knowledge of the participants improved by 46%, which shows the strengths of the program’s methods.  The studies recommendations include: the initiation of meetings and the formation of community groups to facilitate process improvement and training sessions on leadership with the multiplicadores (community health promoters); the use of more illustrations, figures and diagrams in classes; the creation of incentives for participants; and the continued consideration of the interests and educational needs of participants with more regular evaluations of their progress. 

Christopher Vazquez, Miami University-Ohio S10: A study on the music pedagodgy of the organization  Niños con una Esperanza

    This research examined music pedagogy in the non-governmental organization of Niños con una Esperanza (NCUE), located in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  The children participating in these programs are between five and sixteen years old and live in a marginalized area of the city called Cienfuegos.  NCUE is an organization that works toward ending child labor in the San Rafey lanfill, with community education programs.  The children go the center every day to receive homework help, to attend social events, and a safe environment.  The teaching of music methodologies was conducted between January and April of 2010.  The observation of the students, their preferences, and needs occurred through informal interactions and structured classes.  Furthermore, a questionnaire was given to the older students (between 8-15 years old) and interviews were conducted with the facilitators of the organization.  The three justifications for the research include the study of the pedagogy of NCUE, the subject of music, and the general value of music in children’s development.


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