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16 posts categorized "Independent Research Abstracts & Capstone Projects"

12/18/2014

Fall 2014

Erica Modeste, University of Richmond, F14: A study of the environmental knowledge retained by the third and fourth grade students of the community school Arturo Jimenes in Gurabo, Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Contaminated water has become one of the major environmental problems in the Dominican Republic. Solid waste in the streets and in the rivers have accounted for 25% of the contamination of its water sources. Therefore, there is a need to implement environmental education across the country in order to teach children how to care for their environment. For Oné Respé, more specifically, their biggest preoccupation is the violence within the classrooms. Environmental education has the ability to indirectly teach the students to act kindly towards each other. Before Oné Respé could successful implement an environmental education program into the school, it is important to understand what the students already know about the environment. This investigation sought to unearth the perceptions, opinions, and information the students have retained about the environmental condition of both the country and their community and the role the environment has in their lives. The results found that the students know so much about the need and the role of the environment in their lives, but they have never truly been given the chance to put into action, to exercise the knowledge that they have gained.

Victoria Ware, Stonehill College, F14: The study of the difficulties in reading/writing of the children in first and second grade in Niños con una Esperanza (NCUE), Cienfuegos, Santiago, Dominican Republic. 

This study sougt to identify the issues that the children were having in reading/writing, as well as try to identify some potential causes of the difficulties for these kids. The study utilized two questionnaires, school records, and class observations to find out about their literacy levels.  It was discovered that a large portion of children were not able to read and that their level of literacy and comprehension of the alphabet was quite low.

Hannah Currens, Macalaster College, F14: A diagnostic of the social inclusion of the children with disabilities and their families in the Rehabilitation Program of Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano.

This study was based in the topic of social inclusion for people with disabilities. The population was based in the Rehabilitation Based in the Community program of la Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano. The results revealed obstacles to social inclusion in Santiago in both physical and cultural manifestations. Fifty-five percent of the children do not attend school, and only 14.5% know how to read. There was also a substantial correlation between physical disability and ability to navigate the built environment in the city. There is a 92% probability that children who can walk experience fewer than average difficulties in the communities outside their homes. There was also evidence of significant cultural obstacles, with 31-33% of children experiencing at least one form of discrimination due to their disabilities and with the parents of 46% preferring that their child not leave the home.

Kimiko Kasama, Transylvania University, F14: A study of the knowledge about the envrionment and public health in Cristo Rey, Santiago, Dominican Republic. 

A study over the knowledge possessed by the Cristo Rey community about the environment, public health, and the relationship between the two.  I studied the concept of each variable independently within the context of the people’s realm of understanding and then implemented a tangible project followed by a public dissemination where I presented the findings of my research and the suggestions I had to address the need to further educate the people about the environment, public health, and the relationship one holds with the other. The tools used to gather data were implemented through questionnaires, interviews, observations, and a focus group and the population sample totaled 45 people.

 

 

 

 

08/13/2011

Spring 2014

Adrian Pendergast, Eckerd College, S14: Research about Leadership and Behavior of Children/Youth within the Community of Niños con una Esperanza in Cienfuegos, Santiago, DR. January-April 2014

There are many factors that influence the behavior of students in their classrooms; in particular, the culture, the organization, the schedule, the teachers, and the experiences and the lives of the students outside of school. Another of influence  is leadership within a community. Leaders have the ability to have a strong positive influence on daily events and how people process these moments. There are many qualities and attitudes that a leader can use to improve and influence the behavior of others. This includes the perseverance to achieve goals, confidence and an optimistic attitude. 

Leadership in the community,  Niños con una Esperanza (Children with a Hope, or NCUE), is something that is very valued. In the past, a leadership group called Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País (Leaders in Defense of Our Country or LDP) has been utilized to promote the good leaders and offer opportunities for the young people to learn and apply leadership skills. In general, this has been an important aspect of NCUE. 

One of the biggest problems in the schools in the Dominican Republic is the behavior of the students in classrooms. This behavior is at times aggressive, explosive, and violent. Although extremely violent behavior is not common among the students of NCUE, the students experience many problems in their outside lives. In addition, aggressive and unstable behavior is common, especially in the context of games. At times it is hard to control the students in their classrooms, to maintain friendly play, and for students to complete their work without the presence of destructive behavior. It is possible that the improvement of leadership within the community could improve these problems and provide positive examples for the students. In connection with all of these factors, the proposition of this study is to analyze how the members of the community view the concept of leadership in general, how they feel about its presence among the students and how it influences the behavior of the students in their classrooms. 

Amy Lebowitz, Macalester College, S14: The Effects of Art Education on the Behavior of the Third and Fourth Grade Classes at the Arturo Jimenes Community School in Gurabo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, January-April 2014

Classroom violence is an enormous issue in the Dominican Republic, with 70 percent of  school students having at least witnessed some form of violence among their classmates. In the Escuela Comunitaria Arturo Jimenes, a semi-private school run by social justice reflection center Oné Respe, various types of violence are omnipresent among the children. This study examines the effects of one ameliorative strategy, art education, on violence and poor behavior in the third and fourth grade classrooms at this school. Community violence is known to have negative impacts on child development, and a negative classroom environment can greatly diminish learning opportunities for many students. A strategy like art education, which allows children to channel violent energy into creative outlets and focus in a different way, may prove a promising opportunity to increase learning opportunities and improve the classroom environment. Although community and school violence are structural problems, an investigation into the relationship between art education and classroom violence serves a dire need in the specific context of the Escuela Comunitaria Arturo Jimenes, which due to distraction and chaos wrought by violence and poor behavior, cannot always meet its goal of providing education to its students.

Mikayla Bobrow, Clark University, S14: Evaluation of Effectiveness of Sexual Health Curriculum 

The rates of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual violence in the Dominican Republic are some of the highest in the region. These high rates exist in part because of the lack of sexual education provided in the country. This research project evaluates the effectiveness of a sexual health curriculum that was implemented en the middle/high schools San Juan de la Cruz and Salomé Ureña in Barrio Obrero of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. This research is a collaboration with the CIEE Service Learning exchange program and the public hospital Juan XXIII. 

Josh Holt, Wofford College, S14: Study of the Perceptions that Consumers Have about The Products of Arte a Mano To Gain Knowledge of the Organization of Publicity and Points of Views to Improve their Sales

This study is qualitative and quantitative, measuring perceptions and their frequencies in order to produce numerical data that quantifies those perceptions that the sample population has. The sample population of Hoya del Caimito (by random selection) was 67 habitants (32 males and 35 females). The investigator completed half of the sample (for reasons described in the limitations of the study). In addition the researcher gave questionnaires to the group of artisans on their perceptions of the point of sale and the importance of consumer information.

This study found that the majority of the community was in favor not only of recycled materials, but also of the specific materials used by Arte a Mano. In addition to this, awareness of the group and their products is weak because many people lack information about Arte a Mano due to the scarcity of marketing. The data in this study provides basic information about the materials and products that the sample population expect and prefer. Majority supports the goals of Arte a Mano which shows us that Arte a Mano has a segmentation of people in their community who not only like the crafts that Arte a Mano produces but they prefer to buy them as well. 

Ana Brambila, Elon University, S14: Study of the Causes that Motivate Attendance and Disertion in the Sala de Tarea of Acción Callejera in Hato del Yaque    

This study focuses on the sala de tarea of Acción Callejera in the community of Hato del Yaque.The sala de tarea offers tutoring for mathematics and Spanish. They also provide a snack for the children and offers time for recess.   Children’s attendance was measured daily, morning and afternoon, by participatory observation. This study seeks to illustrate the causes that motivate children’s attendance or desertion. A questionnaire was distributed to 30 parents and a different questionnaire was administered to the children but was applied as an interview. The professor in charge of the program and one of the town committee members were also interviewed. According to the questionnaires, all actors are content with the sala de tarea and think that the best way to motivate the children would be through the incorporation of a reward system. The children responded that the best way to motivate them is to visit them that their homes and encourage them to come. Overall, the professor and the town committee member thought that the sala de tarea was fulfilling its purpose, but the committee member did mention that there needed to be more discipline in the sala de tarea.

Gabriela Salazar Kitner, University of Oregon, S14: SWOT Analysis of the Morning and Afternoon Programs of the Educative Foundation of Acción Callejera, March 2014, Santiago

In the Dominican Republic, there is a large acceptance of child labor, in many forms, despite the illegality and breach of rights that occurs. There are organizations that work to support the victims of child labor and give opportunities of education and escape to the daily sloughs of unreasonable work hours, conditions and treatment. Acción Callejera is based in Santiago de los Caballeros and provides basic services and education to kids in these situations. This study analyzes two specific programs that support approximately 30 children's futures and provide more opportunities than they would have had by solely working on the streets. This study analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities to the respective programs and determined recommendations and resulted in a sustainable project to be used to improve aspects of the programs.

Aviva Schwartz, Clark University, S14: The Level of Knowledge that Habitants of the Community of Rafey, Santiago, Dominican Republic have about Disability in the Period of March to April 2014

 This investigation was designed to evaluate the level of knowledge about disabilities in the community of Rafey, Santiago. About 10-15% of the population in the Dominican Republic have disabilities of varying types and levels. There is a lack of resources for these people, and a significant stigma that exists in the country against disabilities. This study explores the perceptions and understanding that the general population has about people with disabilities, how one develops a disability, and the best way to interact and support a person with a disability. The investigation was conducted through La Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (The Dominican Foundation for Childcare) in order to determine what information they should focus on when teaching the community. Through two formal interviews, with the director of FCID and the mayor of Rafey, and 221 surveys throughout the community, it became clear that the community has a strong basic level of knowledge about disabilities. The results showed that although the community does have an understanding of the abilities that people with disabilities have, and of some of the challenges that they face in our society, there is much more they should learn. Some of the information they lack relates to the how someone develops a disability, the best way to support someone with disabilities and specific types of disabilities. The Dominican Foundation for Childcare will now implement workshops educating the community about the reality of disabilities and how to best support people who are living with disabilities. 

Calli Johnson, University of Colorado, Boulder, S14: Analysis of how Socioeconomic and Social Environmental Factors Affect Individual Perception of Hypertension and Diabetes in Pekin Abajo, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Diabetes and hypertension are very serious diseases in the community of Pekín Abajo, a community of a diverse socioeconomic conditions and lifestyles in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

Although there are many resources in the community for hypertensive and diabetic patients, the attendance and utilization of these resources is very low and often rather inconsistent. Therefore, this research focuses on the mentality of these patients, in order to investigate how they perceive their illness and how these perceptions are affected by both socioeconomic and social environment factors.

The statistics from this research provide a more complete picture of the social factors that exist in Pekín and within each of the individuals. They demonstrate much consensus in relation to importance and control of care of health as well as lots of variation in relation to money, feelings of dependency, and risk. Through the analysis of this data, it is evident that there are patterns in many socio-economic and socio-envirionmental factors that affect individual perceptions of these diseases.

Hannah Yore, Clark University, S14: Evaluation of the Level of Knowledge about Sexual Health an Resources of Adolescents Age Twelve to Eighteen in the Communiy

Sexual violence, rates of sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancy are among the most pressing health concerns facing adolescent women in the Dominican Republic. Adolescents' awareness of sexual health information and available sexual health resources undoubtedly influences high rates of these three health risks. Therefore, the goal of this study is to determine female adolescents' understanding of sexual health and sexual health resources. Additionally, this study investigates the opinions of doctors and community health leaders about the sexual health of adolescents and what they think could help improve this aspect of health. The study is concentrated in Cristo Rey Abajo en Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic as part of a exchange Service Learning CIEE program and the public hospital Juan XXIII. 

08/12/2011

Fall 2013

Eve Hansen, University of Washington, F13: Study of the Impacts of the Baseball League of Acción Callejera on Self  Esteem, Social Relationships, and Motivation of Youth Seven to Eighteen Years Old in Hato del Yaque, Santiago, Dominican Republic

This investigation presents a study of the achievements of the baseball league of Acción Callejera  in the self-esteem, the social relations and the motivation of the youth of seven to 18 years in Hato del Yaque, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The purpose was to identify the effects of the baseball league on the boys and see if it has had a positive effect on their development.  The investigation discovered the success in achieving the objectives of the baseball league but first, the objectives, the mission, and the vision of the league had to be determined.  This study will be helpful in the development of the organization of this recreational program that exists to provide a healthy activity that takes the boys off of the streets.  Acción Callejera is a non-profit organization that works to provide equal opportunities for the youth in risk, assure them of their human rights and provide a safe environment.  

At the end, the investigator concluded that the baseball league is a beneficial and healthy activity for the boys and provides them with opportunities to develop; however, there are areas of the league that need improvement.  There has to be more organization and discipline in the structure of the practices and games because as they are now, they are chaotic, and the youth could benefit more from their practice if improvements were made.  

 

Darla Wynn, George Washington University, F13: Causes and Consequences of the Violence in the Children of the Third Grade at the Arturo Jimenes Community School of Los Platanitos

The general objective of this study is to analyze the causes and consequences of the violence in the children of the third grade class at the Arturo Jimenes Community School in Los Platanitos, Gurabo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The specific objectives are to 1) Identify the causing factors of the violence in the children, 2) Explain the effects of the violence in the classroom, 3) Learn the feelings of the children who show violent behavior and who are victims of the violence in the classroom, and 4) Consult the teachers and parents of the children about the possible causes of the violence in their children and students as well as about their actions against the violence in the children.

The results of the study show that familial and home situations are factors identified as causes of violence within children and in the school. The main causing factor of violent actions is children being provoked by their peers. The results also show that violence serves as a distraction in the classroom, causing less learning than what is possible. Furthermore, the results show that the majority of the children, violent and non-violent, feel bad and sad about the violence that occurs in the class and all of them are are able to identity wrong from right. Finally, the results show that while the teachers have methods of dealing with and addressing the issue of violence, the parents of the children do not talk to their children enough about the issue.

At the end of the study, the researcher suggests that the teachers communicate with the parents more, use a reward system with the children, and continue with strict and consistent consequences when students act violent. She also suggests that in continuing the study of this issue, the next researcher should talk to the psychologists of the school about violence in the children and research productive ways to discuss the problem with children and their parents. 

Kate Shafer, Elon University, F13: Evaluation of the Orientation and Capacitation Program for Parents and the Rehabilitation Program for Adolescents and Youth with Disabilities of the Association of Mothers of Disabled Children in Santiago de los Caballeros

This research project evaluated the Orientation and Capacitation Program for Parents and the Rehabilitation Program for Adolescents and Youth with Disabilities of the Association of Mothers of Disabled Children (MANIDI) in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic.  The Association of Mothers of Disabled Children is a non-profit organization with an office in the community of Pueblo Nuevo that supports disabled youth and their parents with rehabilitation, familiar reintegration and education.  The families of MANIDI live in a variety of communities in Santiago but travel to the office in Pueblo Nuevo for the majority of the activities of MANIDI.

This research is an evaluation and contains both qualitative and quantitative aspects.  The researcher used direct observations, informal interviews, a conversation with a focus group of students with experience with the rehabilitation program and a survey for the parents of the focus group with experience in the orientation and capacitation program to evaluate the programs.  The evaluation was conducted with the goal of offering suggestions to make the programs of MANIDI more efficient, successful and sustainable.

This project represents the importance of keeping the families content while actively looking for more families and potential donors to maintain a successful organization.  The majority of the discontent of the families of MANIDI, according to this study, resulted from transportation issues, the time and scheduling of activities and the elimination of the families’ favorite programs.  The researcher also offered suggestions to earn more funds and conducted a project with the intention of improving those problems.  This project included a public relations campaign, information about grants and suggestions to improve the preexisting programs.  Above all, though, the families of MANIDI are very happy and grateful for all of the help that MANIDI has given them. 

Jasmine Eshkar, Oberlin University, F13: Evaluation of the Challenges and Opportunities of Communication in Arte a Mano

This study examines Arte a Mano’s internal and external communication systems to determine their future opportunities. Like every small business, the group has fought to take advantage of its surroundings. This study examines communication as an area in which the group has strengths and chances to improve and expand. It finds that the development of clear systems for both internal and external communication is very important for the group’s functioning. The recommendation section focuses on qualities that the group already has that it can use to find more opportunities in the future, highlighting Arte a Mano’s strengths of interpersonal connections and the shared goals of its members.

Kenny Strauss, University of Missouri, F13: Evaluation of the Viability of a Nutrition and Excercise Program for a Healthy Lifestyle in People Between the Ages of 25 and 60 in the Community of Pekín Abajo, Zone Sur, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

In Pekin Abajo,diabetes and hypertension are very prevalent and dangerous.  But, these diseases are curable and coniditons can be improved with two simple acts; exercise and healthy eating.  This investigation measures the level of interest of an exercise club or nutrition club in the community.  In addition, the investigation finds ways to help start this club.  The conclusions of this study are results of the contribution of the investigator, the health promoters in Pekin Abajo, and members of the community.  Finally, the investigation demonstrates the necessity of an exercise and/or nutrition club.  

April Hooper, Clark University, F13: 

In the Dominican Republic, there are high rates of early initiation of sexual relationships, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and illegal abortions in adolescents. This study aims to discover if these four problems come from a lack of knowledge of adolescents about sex-related topics and puberty and if they have or want access to information and resources about sex-related topics and puberty. The study also tries to uncover the opinions about a sexual education program in the school from the school staff and community organizations that work with adolescent services. This research is focused on the neighborhoods of Barrio Lindo and Barrio Obrero in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic and is executed through the CIEE Service-Learning exchange program and the Juan XXIII first level center of medicine. It studies students in seventh and eighth grade in the Salomé Ureña school.

 

 

08/11/2011

Spring 2013

Tom Baker, Clark University, S13:  The Protagonists of their Own Lives: An Evaluation of the Capacity of the Oné Respé Youth Group to Empower and Motivate the Youth of Los Platanitos

 This qualitative and quantitative research evaluates the efficiency of the youth group of Los Platanitos that is offered through the institution Oné Respe: Centro de Reflexión, Encuentro, y Solidaridad in their ability to empower the youth the be the protagonists of their own lives and motivated members of their community. The data of the study was collected utilizing direct observation, weekly evaluations from the perspective of the youth, and formal interviews.

The results indicate that participation in Oné Respe’s youth group generally contributes to improved feelings of empowerment and personal motivation, while also contributing to an increased motivation to participate in the community. The results also indicate that there is a lack of mobilization of resources on the part of the youth because they cannot exactly identify how to use the group as a resource in their lives. Observations of the group show that participation in the group is not as consistent as the youth indicate in their interviews.

 The following recommendations were made: create a more strict system of attendance, do community visits, establish more contacts in the community, offer more opportunities for collaboration between the two youth groups of the organization, and give the youth more opportunities to select the themes of the of meetings and plan group excursions.

 Sara Hutchinson, Clark University, S13: Research to Evaluate the Support Systems that Exist for Kindergarteners in the Community School of Los Jiménes, and the Relation to their Academic Performance

The following study was done by a student in the CIEE Service-Learning study abroad program during the Spring of 2013.  The study took place in the community of Los Pérez in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The research title also forms the general objective of the study.  The researcher examines: What are the most important needs for the kindergarteners in the community school? The study was carried out through the organization Oné Respe, which means “Honor and Respect” in Creole.  Throughout the study, the investigator asks What is a support system and how does it influence a child’s life?  A child’s support system incorporates personal relationships and different learning environments. The research tools focus on a collaborative effort, which incorporates the researcher, the teachers in the school, and the families of the kids.  The results from the collection of quantitative data emphasize the importance of the home environment in the way that children learn.  The study utilizes the results from questionnaires and interviews with the families to form recommendations for the organization based on style of the course and methods to improve communication between the family and school.

Peter Hyndman, Drexel University, S13: Determining the Viability of a Educational Club for Diabetics and Hypertensives in the Community of Pekin Abajo

Diabetes and hypertension are two of the most serious problems in Pekín Abajo, a community in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. There is a Center of Primary Attention (UNAP), run by Juan XXIII, which serves the Pekín Abajo community and is staffed by doctors, nurses, and volunteer health promoters. This research is about the capacities of Juan XXIII and the UNAP specifically regarding an educative club for people that suffer from diabetes and hypertension. It measures the levels of interest and tries to establish some purposes of the club. Also, it establishes a few ways in which the club can realize its goals and purposes.

The point of the research is to discover data to help with the planning of the club, rather than simply starting it without any plans. In that vein, it sets out to ensure the long-term success of the club. All of the conclusions of the research are results of contribution from the investigator, the UNAP staff, and members of the community. In the end, the research establishes that this proposed club is viable for the community.

Emily Stibbs, Vanderbilt University, S13: A Study of the Level of Knowledge and Care of the Principal Caretakers of the Children and Teenagers with Disabilities in the Community of Cristo Rey, Santiago, Dominican Republic

In Cristo Rey, a community located in the Southern zone of Santiago de los Caballeros, there is a system of health promoters and supervisors who work to maintain the health of their community. When the researcher accompanied the health promoters and supervisors in their house visits, she realized that there was a significant population of children and teenagers between the ages of four and twenty-one with visible disabilities, like severe paralysis in all four limbs, and, also, invisible disabilities, like behavior problems or mental retardation. This population of children and teenagers needs specific care en terms of their medical assistance, their nutrition, and their education.

Therefore, a study about the level of knowledge that the caretakers of these children and teenagers have about these topics and about adequate care of this population was performed. So, questionnaires and interviews were completed with these main caretakers during a period of almost three months. The data determined two important findings: 1) there is a great lack in preventative health in these children and teenagers, as is demonstrated with only 56% of the children and teenagers having all of their vaccines and only 10% of them having the correct amount of therapy, and 2) there is little knowledge about the small amount of resources available to them. As a result, a discussion about these topics occurred April 8th for the caretakers of the children and teenagers with disabilities in Cristo Rey, including guest speakers like a therapist and a social worker. This discussion was the first meeting of a monthly club for these caretakers of children and teenagers with disabilities in Cristo Rey. Also this study hopes to alert the community of Cristo Rey, especially medical personnel, so that this could be the first step so that they can receive aid in terms of resources and attention.

Holly Johnsen, Portland State University, S13: Analysis of the Relationship Between the Individual Capacity of the Members of Arte a Mano and the Strength of the Group: A Study of the Motivations and Effects of Affiliation

This qualitative and quantitative study analyzes the reciprocity, affiliation, and recent skills-building of the members of Arte a Mano in the northeast sector of Santiago, Dominican Republic. Questionnaires, focus groups, and direct observation support the investigation of the results of the previous individual skills-building, how individual capacity is related with strengthening the group, and the members’ commitment and motives for affiliation.    

The research finds that the recent skills-building has thoroughly instilled the importance of certain practices within money management, teamwork, and artistic presentation, but the technical knowledge of these skills is still inconsistent among the members of the association. There’s a basic level of commitment within the association and the motivation for affiliation is quite varied at least partially from the lack of a shared image or identity of Arte a Mano which to associate themselves. 

The investigator recommends that the members continue and practice the skills from the recent training during their monthly meetings where there is more support and where the association can share information with those that have missed certain workshops. Finally the investigator suggests uniforming some of its marketing methods like printing a general association business card and developing one iconic product to represent the association.  

Kalle Davis, Wofford College, S13: A Diagnostic of the Abilities of the Youth in the Leaders of our Nation Program at Niños con una Esperanza

Since its beginning in 2011, the group Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País (LDP) has supported 12 youth within the ages of 13-17 with viable leadership skills to use as a help to Niños con una Esperanza. Daily functions of the members of LDP help the facilitators as well as the youth to be trained as positive leaders within their community. In the program’s history, the youth have learned about leadership in their weekly meetings but, according to past studies, it has been concluded that the youth have not had many opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. The investigator did a qualitative investigation through a diagnostic of the leadership abilities the youth within Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País. This diagnostic was utilized to determine the capacity of empowerment the youth have. Through direct observation and questionnaires, the investigator found that the youth have confidence in their leadership abilities, but they want more opportunities to use these skills. They need support from within the organization Niños con una Esperanza in order to make LDP País more sustainable. The youth have demonstrated their abilities to creatively lead and solve problems and are ready to take their learning to the next level.

Frances Bursch, University of Oregon, S13: Perception and Practice of Recycling: The Recycling Center of Hope and the Surrounding Community

The contamination of garbage and the industry of recycling are both important forces in Cienfuegos—a marginalized neighborhood alongside the landfill in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The Recycling Center La Esperanza, a collection center for a social cause, works to prevent contamination in the community and its proceeds benefit local children. The objective of this investigation is to discover how the surrounding community values the recycling center. Its value is understood through the framework of the community’s perceptions and practices of recycling. The investigation was carried out through the interviews of 50 community members of Cienfuegos. The study determined that the community values the cleanliness of their environment and a significant amount of the interviewed population participate in the recycling industry but not necessarily through the Recycling Center La Esperanza. The community values the Recycling Center La Esperanza but there is a disconnect between this appreciation and their tangible support through participation. The investigation measures the perceptions and practices of the community with respect to recycling in order to inform the Recycling Center La Esperanza about the characteristics of its actual and potential customers. As well as informs about the broader recycling industry in which the recycling enter exists.  The investigation provides the Recycling Center La Esperanza the necessary information to better promote itself and to involve the community in an effort to prevent contamination. 

Jacky Ayala, Occidental College, S13: An Analysis of Family Characteristics of Children and Adolescents without Birth Certificates in Hato del Yaque, Santiago Dominican Republic

The Latin American country with the highest percentage of undocumented children and adolescents is the Dominican Republic (Flygge 2009, p.8). Without a birth certificate many children and adolescents are vulnerable in society. In addition, the lack of documentation limits their educational and professional opportunities. Without being declared, children and adolescents cannot exercise their rights. They are invisible in the formal system. This investigation focused on an analysis of the characteristics of four families in Hato del Yaque, Santiago that have more than one son / daughter without a birth certificate. The data was collected through interviews with these four families. The results revealed that in all cases the parents of undocumented NNAs had their first child at a young age; they were 16 to 20 years old. The research also found that families did not have a high level of education. The highest educational level completed in each household was eighth grade. The highest level of weekly family income is $ 2,000 RD. The researcher also found that parents of undocumented children and adolescents participate very little or not at all in community clubs, organizations and clubs. The parents are not aware of their children's studies--none knew the name of the teacher at José Francisco Peña Gómez, study hall where their sons / daughters attend. Nor did they know of the services in the community like Acción Callejera ( Street Action) offering legal assistance through Apoyo Legal (Legal Support) program. Based on her observations and results, the researcher recommends that Acción Callejera focus more on the advocacy of the importance of the declaration and of the services offered by the organization.

Heather White, Clark University, S13: Evaluation of the Acción Callejera (Street Action) afternoon youth program, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic  

 This study presents an assessment of the afternoon youth program at Acción Callejera (Street Action). Acción Callejera is an educational organization that works with children and adolescents at high social risk in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The afternoon program works with a group of 15 youth who live, work, and carry out their lives on the streets of Santiago de los Caballeros.  The study was carried out with the intention of understanding the perceptions and ideas of the program participants, the employees directly involved in the program, and other Acción Callejera staff members in close contact with the program that work in the youth center. The study was conducted by means of structured interviews with the youth, employees, and long-term volunteers. The objectives of the evaluation were to learn the ideas of those involved about the strengths and weaknesses of the program to make the program better and functioning in the most effective way possible.

The results found show a lot success in the program and additionally many areas that the program can be improved. Through the interviews with the street youth, useful findings were found about the reasons they come to the afternoon program. Additionally, many different suggestions about ways to make the program better were found through interviews with staff members. 

Emily Neubig, Clark University, S13: Defining the Role of the Community Homework Center in Hato de Yaque to Motivate and Educate Youth

This study investigated the role that the sala de tarea (homework help center) of Acción Callejera plays in the community that it is located in, Hato del Yaque. The investigator began the research by forming a chart of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the center, and discoved that many of the thearts and weaknesses could be overcome by actualizing the opportunities. The overall theme of this research study is the importance of individualizing in order to better serve the students and the community.

The investigator interviewed 23 students in the sala de tarea in order to measure their levels of educational motivation and how the levels vary based on whether or not the students attend school, their family structures, and the different influences of the community. The researcher looked at the relationship between the organizations that work with youth in the area and the sala de tarea. The investigator found that there is a disconnect between the community organizations, and that the children could be better served by greater communication between the organizations and the community.

The investigator recommends that Acción Callejera treat each sala de tarea in an individual way so that they can identify the potential that each sala de tarea has and work with it to overcome some of the obstacles they face. 

Jessica Kruger, Eckerd College, S13: Research of the Effectivity of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program in Yaguita de Pastor and Cienfuegos

This investigation evaluates the program, Rehabilitation Based in the Community within the organization Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano. This organization has passed through a period of many changes recently and now is the ideal time to make this evaluation.  The evaluation identifies some strengths and weaknesses of the program using a population of families with children with disabilities that are in the program, as well as those who have left.  This study evaluates the thoughts and reactions of the families concerning the different components of the program, the things they’re children have accomplished, the process of leaving the program, and the thoughts of the community regarding the rehabilitation program.  The study shows there is a lack of responsibility of the parents of these children.  The Fundación has the task of repairing this lack of awareness this because the main goal of the Fundación is to empower parents to develop their children and families for themselves.  However, there are also high levels of satisfaction amongst the parents and community and the Fundación should use this to continue moving forward and show it’s successes in the search for more support and resources.


 

 

08/10/2011

Fall 2012

Jackie Creed, Stonehill College, F12: Ready to Learn! The Early Education Program in the Community School Arturo Jiménez in Los Pérez

 In the Dominican Republic, there are very early childhood education programs, education for children between 0 and 6 years. Most of these programs are dominitated by the private sector and are too expensive for many families. Children are in a critical stage of development between 2 and 6 years old.They can learn more rapidly and remember more information. Education during this time is essential.

This study examines the implementation of the early childhood education program at Oné Respe’s Arturo Jiménes Community School in the community Los Pérez, Santiago, República Dominicana. The school is in a challenging situation with almost 40 children in every classroom, but do not have the sufficient resources to aid these children easily. The program must be efficient for its students to recieve all the benefits that early childhood education offers.

This study uses interviews, direct observations, and the curriculum to analyze the methodology in the classroom, measure the classroom management strategies, and determine the effects of the progam in the school. The study shows the specific activities for the students to learn  language, motor, mathematical, and social-emotional skills. The classroom management strategies are more reactive than proactive and can be improved with more activities for the students. There are positive effects for the children after the early childhood program: the learn the four skills and have more success in the elementary school grades. The recommendations are to continue research on early childhood education and use attention strategies, consistency, and incentives to better classroom behavior.

 

Annie Safar, University of Washington, F12: Diagnostic of the Protocols and Operations between the Recycling Center of Hope and Niños con una Esperanza, with a Focus on the Promotion in the Community of Cienfuegos

In April 2012 El Centro de Reciclaje La Esperanza (CRLE) opened its doors and began recycling plastic, papers, and cardboard. The mission of CRLE is to offer a decent job to the citizens of Cienfuegos who work in the landfill and also to contribute to bettering the environment. CRLE works as a company that buys and sells recyclable materials from the citizens of Cienfuegos and sells them to a recycling plant called, La Recicladora Cibao. The Center also accepts donations in the form of plastic, cardboard and paper. Several institutions and individual parties donate these materials.

To continue the work and expand the presence of the Center, this research aims to determine who is the target market and describes how and why these individuals are participating with CRLE. To continue the success of CRLE, the study investigated the motivations of users to improve marketing strategies. This study endeavored to prove that this understanding is vital if the center wants to improve the promotion for expand the participation.

Research was conducted by surveying some of the current users of the center, the participation in daily activities with the Center, and the investigator also conducted a focus group with participants from the collection route. With these tools, the study showed what the most important motivations for each user, and how to use the information to improve the promotion. The results indicated that there are various motivations users with each sample. For example, users in Cienfuegos economic reasons mainly recycled. The study created a profile of the various user populations in order to assist CRLE in the creation of a personalized marketing campaign based on the profiles, motivations, and experiences described by the results.

 

Hannah Loppnow, St. Norbert College, F12: A Diagnostic of the Leaders Defending our Country at Niños con una Esperanza in Cienfuegos, Dominican Republic

With two years in existence, Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País (LDP) has grown to form a fantastic group of motivated adolescents who are ready to help in any way possible. After just a short time with the leaders, the investigator decided that a diagnostic of the group was necessary to have a better knowledge base of every aspect of the group so they can use it to develop in the future. From the beginning of the group in 2011, the goals of LDP have been to provide support for the children, help the facilitators of NCUE, and to train a group of adolescents to be leaders who can serve at NCUE and in their communities.

The investigator executed a qualitative research study out of convenience to construct a diagnostic for LDP. With this research, the leaders will be able to develop individually and as a group. The sample was selected out of convenience and for the majority, utilized people who are involved at NCUE. The investigator used two questionnaires and two interviews as well as her direct observations to collect the data.

With the results gathered by using these tools, the investigator discovered that the leaders have an abundance of potential and the most important action to take in the future is to give the leaders more opportunities to serve in their community and more responsibilities at NCUE. This could be possible if the group was consistent with attendance, if there are more sustainable decisions made, and if a facilitator at NCUE took the opportunity to be a permanent mentor to the leaders. Through the semester with the leaders, the investigator observed that the leaders are fulfilling all of the original goals of the group. LDP is an essential program to help with the daily tasks at NCUE. Because of the high quantity of children that attend NCUE, the facilitators need help. The program is necessary to give hope to others in an area as marginalized as Cienfuegos.

 

Pelumi Ogunlana, University of Missouri, F12: Research on the Knowledge of the Artisans in Arte a Mano about the areas of Working in Groups, Financial Management and Art Presentation

My investigation is about the small businesses owned by the artisans in Arte a Mano. Arte a Mano is located in Hoya de Caimito, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The investigation used three questionnaires, a workshop, a focus group, and two fairs in order to help the artisans en the three areas of working in groups, management of finances and presentation of art. The artisans learned about conflict while working in groups, how to make a register, and the importance of having a label on their art. The investigation concluded that the artisans needed help en the three areas and should show their new abilities. The investigation helped the artisans build their knowledge in these areas and eventually their businesses.

08/09/2011

Spring 2012

Davika Parris, Clark University, S12: An Evaluation of Community Participation in Helping the Development of Homework Centers: Ema Balaguer and Iglesia de Dios, Cienfuegos, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

 Acción Callejera is an organization dedicated to the development of boys, girls, and adolescents in vulnerable conditions and high risk situations through various programs such as legal help, emotional help, and the salas de tarea.  This research focused on the identification of the resources within both salas de tareas of Iglesia de Dios and Ema Balaguer, as well as identifying the various types of community participation and their level of usage within the schools. In order to measure the latter, the investigator used the three measures of community participation including: participation in the form of mobilization, allocation of resources, and instruction. After the identification of these various types, the investigator evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of each category as well as the differences between the two schools.

The investigator also found that the schools were not using their biggest resource; the other salas de tareas within their community of Cienfuegos. Through observation, interviews, and questionnaires, the investigator found that a connection between the teachers and volunteers of the schools was basically non-existent, but that all of the memebers were interested in forming formal connections with the other schools if there was a way to do so.  This could serve as a helpful way for the school’s staff to learn from other schools and try to better their own. In this light, a recommendation to the future student would be to create an Association of Salas de Tareas that can have monthly meetings, workshops, and even serve as a support group.

 

Zoe Ingerson, Whitman College, S12: Reading for Everyone: an Investigation of Reading Difficulties and the Creation of Individualized Plans for Students of 6-8 years in the Arturo Jiménes Community School of Los Pérez in Santiago, Dominican Republic,”

 This study was conducted in the spring of 2012 by an investigator of the CIEE-Service Learning program in conjunction with the community organization One Respe. Based on her initial observations of the school's students, she investigated which difficulties the students had as well as what factors influenced their academic achievement, all with the final goal of creating Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) for each one.

With the help of the school's teachers, the investigator identified four students with difficulties in school and worked individually with them to conduct reading and writing activities. In the following phases, the investigator continued working with the students, while at the same time speaking with the teachers, parents and the psychologist of the school to learn more about the students through interviews and questionnaires.   

Finally, the investigator created plans for each of the students and presented them to the teachers in a workshop designed to teach them the contents of the documents, their purpose, and how to use them in the future.

This study, which came from participatory observations within the school, was a collaborative one, where the investigator worked in conjunction with teachers, parents and a psychologist to do work to benefit all those involved.

 

Isabelle Jaffe, Clark University, S12: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of PITS (Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections) and the Mutliplicators in the Japón School in Hato del Yaque, Dominican Republic

 This is an evaluation of the program PITS (Prevención de Infecciones de Transmisión Sexual) in the organization FCID (Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano), a non-governmental community health organization. The program PITS provides community healthcare by entering the communities of Santiago and teaching the people about their sexual health. They find volunteers or “multiplicadores” from the communities and teach them about themes related to health. These volunteers are trained to teach the same themes in their community schools in the form of “charlas” (talks). This investigation focuses on the Japanese School in Hato del Yaque, a community outside the city of Santiago, with which PITS began working in November of 2011.

The objectives of this investigation are: measure the knowledge of the students about the themes of the program before and after participating in the program, review the teaching methods used and how they work, investigate if the relationship that PITS has with the “multiplicadores” supports their success and development, and measure the role of the teachers of the school. The tools used in this investigation were the following: the pre-test and post-test, direct observations, and questionnaires. The results of a comparison between the pre-test and post-test showed an increase of knowledge of only 8%. According to these results, the students of the program are not learning enough, and the program could improve in certain aspects in order to reach their goal of providing community healthcare to Hato del Yaque. With this being said, there were factors in the classrooms that the “multiplicadores” could not control (i.e.: noise level, distractions, lack of time). But there are aspects of their work that they could improve, and the recommendations of the investigation are: use the most effective teaching methods (visual aids, group work, and dynamics), link all the themes while teaching, use at least two “charlas” to teach a theme, and involve the teachers of the school in the program. To assist PITS in continuing their work in the communities of Santiago, this investigation is accompanied by a tangible project of a booklet geared at generating funds for the program that PITS may give to possible donors.

 

 

Talia Brock, Denison University, S12: A Study of the Professional Expectations of the Leaders in Defense of Our Country at Niños con una Esperanza (NCUE), the Perspectives of the Directors, Facilitators and the Factors Creating these Expectations

 Level of self-confidence and quality of the environment are two factors that are of great importance in the development of youths, specifically in relation to the pursuit of professional success. Without confidence in one’s self or the necessary resources in their environment, youths can be confronted with many difficulties in their first years of adult life. Within the organization Niños con una Esperanza, an after-school program in the sector of Santa Lucia (La Mosca), Cien Fuegos, Dominican Republic, there is a group of youths between the ages of 11 and 17 that are called the Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País (LDP). These youths have responsibilities within the program that include helping the facilitators monitoring the activities of the younger children during recess, serving the food during snack time and being role models in general. The majority of the LDP are approaching their high school graduation, and they will have to find work, go to college or do something in order to live as adults in the near future.

The purpose of this investigation is to identify the professional goals of the members of LDP, their visions for the future and how the expectations that the facilitators and directors of NCUE have for them affect their visualization of the future. With this information, we can have a clearer understanding of how one’s environment affects youths, and how we can avoid a negative environment. The researcher learned which factors were affecting the LDP’s visualization of the future and investigated the expectations that the directors and facilitators had for the LDP as well. The results indicated that the LDP lacked the appropriate amount of confidence in themselves, and that they also lacked a clear perception of the resources at their disposal within NCUE. The program NCUE needs to find ways to build the confidence of the LDP and increase their awareness of the resources within NCUE. The final step in the LDP’s learning of leadership within their own lives is to have the confidence and faith that they truly can reach their goals

 

Anna Cecelia McWhirter, University of Oregon, S12: Madres Empoderadas, Niños Exitosos: Los obstáculos y las motivaciones de madres en asistir a reuniones de Estimulación Temprana.  Empowered Mothers, Successful Children: The Obstacles and Motivations of Mothers Attending Early Stimulation Meetings

 This investigation was done in collaboration with the Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID), specifically through the program Estimulación Temprana a Infantes Nacidos en Alto Riesgo (ETINAR). Mothers and family members involved in this program bring their infants to the foundation’s weekly meetings where they do various exercises to work on the early stimulation of the 0-1 year old infant. The investigation seeks to discover obstacles that have prevented the mothers from attending the meetings, the knowledge and awareness that they have of development and at-risk children, their motivations behind attending every week, and their thoughts about the future of their children in the program. The sample involves 15 mothers, one father, one aunt and one grandmother, from four communities where ETINAR is located within the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The results show that the biggest obstacles for the interviewees is work and school, concern about the community having negative views of their children or themselves as mothers, and a lack of time. In terms of their knowledge and awareness, there is a low level of awareness of what is early stimulation in the communities. Also, there is a disconnection about what the people believe is the definition of an “at risk” child and the definition of the foundation. The mothers are motivated to attend for having seen differences in their child’s development after continually attending the meetings and doing the exercises at home. Another motivation is that the majority of the interviewees responded that they have support and help at home to follow up on the early stimulation of their children. In the future, the mothers want their children to be able to continue the work and exercises they learned during the meetings. They want to see other mothers and family members get involved in the weekly meetings and the mothers themselves would like to participate in inviting and involving others. Based on the results of the investigation, this investigator recommends that the mothers regularly involved in the meetings take responsibility to commit other mothers to attending the meetings and that the foundation works with these regular mothers in various ways to be able to do this work.

 

 

Emily J. Sturdivant, Clark University, S12:  Pilot Group of the Siblings Club: Planning a Club of Siblings of Children with Disabilities in Cienfuegos and the Sustainability of the Group after the First Two Months

 This is an evaluation of a pilot support group for youth with siblings who have disabilities.  The “Club de Hermanos” is an initiative of the Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID) designed in a planning manual (Manual de Apoyo) to meet the emotional, social, educational, and psychological needs of these youth who have not previously had the opportunity for support.  The pilot phase of the Club was conducted in the barrio of Cienfuegos, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic and spanned 2 months.  To evaluate the pilot, the investigation documented the planning and the process, measured the sustainability, and analyzed the whole to allow its application in the other communities served by FCID.  The investigator observed the planning and administered surveys to the facilitators and the youth.  Following the results, the Club of Cienfuegos, started as the pilot, will continue under the leadership of the team of health promoters with plans to increase involvement with the club though promotion and leadership from within the group of youth.  Based on this successful pilot, implementation of Clubs in other sectors should begin by developing a strong leadership structure and conducting a promotional campaign.

08/08/2011

Fall 2011

Natalia Salazar, Clark University, F11: An evaluation of how the leadership of the art association Arte-a-Mano: How to strengthen to advance

This evaluation was conducted in Hoya de Caimito, Santiago, Dominican Republic in collaboration with the members of the art association, Arte-a-Mano.  Through a series of direct observations, field notes, and questionnaires, the following objectives were measured: to determine the level of organizational structure, transparency, knowledge of roles and responsibilities within both the leadership and membership of the organization.  It was determined that the organization has reached a semi-high level of organizational development, yet many of the members do not follow the bylaws or even have a copy of them.  It was also discovered that Arte-a-Mano has a basic level of documentation and transparency.  Lastly, it was discovered that that the majority of the members and organization as a whole depend largely on the leadership board for all functioning of the organization.  It is recommended that the organization continue to find ways to increase transparency of information, make known (and follow) the bylaws, as well as continue with positive mindsets to involve more active members.

 

Lauren Rodgers, Southern Methodist University, F11: The Social, Emotional and Psychological Necessities of Siblings of Children with Disabilities

This research examines the social, emotional, psychological and educational necessities of siblings of children with disabilities in the area of Cienfuegos, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  It also determines the possible strategies to respond to the needs of the siblings.  It was created in collaboration with Fundacion Cuidado Infantil Domincana, specifically the Rehabilitation Program, and the families of children with disabilities.  FCID is a non-governmental organization that works in public health.  This research took from previous studies that there was a lack of support for siblings of children with disabilities, and that possibly some of their needs were being overlooked. 

The proposal of this study is to examine, through interviews and questionnaires, the viability of creating a support group for the siblings of disabled children.  It also presents a sustainable plan and resource guide to begin the support group in the community of Cienfuegos.

 

Charlotte Kaye, Colorado College, F11: The School Ready to Grow: A Diagnostic of the Necessities of the Community School in Los Platanitos

This study was conducted in the Arturo Jimenes Community School in Los Platanitos, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic between August and December 2011.  The study and a tangible project were created for the school in collaboration with the community organization, One Respe and the CIEE-Service Learning program.  This report identifies, organizes and prioritizes the needs of the school; so that the school can function in a way that addresses the needs of the community during an economically stagnant time.    

This research has three tiers.  The first is centered on a qualitative evaluation of the basic pillars of a community school, in order to determine the base quality of One Respe’s work in the school.  The second examines the concrete necessities for the school to continue growing and be successful.  The third is a list of necessities in order of priority and cost. 

There was evidence that the basic foundation of a community school were generally in place, but the school in Los Platanitos lacked two of the pillars to provide its students an academic environment.  The results of the research show which necessities were lacking; these were then divided by category to better facilitate obtaining them.  The study created the project of “Sponsor a School,” in order to find donations of the basic necessities for the community school.   

 

Ellery Bob Kirkconnell, Oberlin College, F11: Late Declaration of Children, Adolescents and Adults in Hoyo de Pechula, Santiago, Dominican Repulic: The Environmental Influences Present in the Community

 A birth certificate is the identity of a person, yet many people in the Dominican Republic, specifically Santiago de los Caballeros, are living without this important document.  Not only does the government not recognize their existence, buy these individuals do not have the ability to enter public school, work in the public or private sectors, receive loans from the bank, participate in the public health system, purchase a house, vote and much more.  The investigator had the opportunity to work with Acción Callejera, an educational foundation that works to educate and provide opportunities to street children, specifically working within the legal support program.  The objective of this research was to determine what effects the environment has on the people living in the community of El Hoyo de Pechula, specifically in relation to their ability to obtain birth certificates.  The tools used to collect data included interviews and direct observations of a sample of families living in Hoyo de Pechula.  The results showed that the lack of financial resources and education led to 50% of the community not understanding the birth certificate laws and only 20% understanding the steps needed to obtain an official birth certificate.  It is recommended that in the future Acción Callejera continue to assist these individuals, and individuals of other communities, in obtaining this essential documentation.

 

Kristina Buckingham, University of Denver, Colorado, F11: The Key for Future Educational Success: The Practices and Beliefs of the Mothers in the Early Stimulation Program in Regards to Early Literacy.

 This research was carried out in collaboration with the Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID), a community health foundation, specifically within their new program, Estimulación Temprana de Infantes Nacidos de Alto Riesgo (ETINAR) which works within the community to promote early childhood development for infants born in at-risk communities.  This study examines the habits, experiences and understanding of 16 mothers in 5 communities of Santiago, Dominican Republic, in relation to the early literacy of their infants.  The results of the questionnaires show that there is not a widespread custom of mothers in the program reading to their infants.  It also showed that there was not sufficient information or emphasis placed on the importance of early literacy in young children.  Finally, it showed that the lack of resources and access to reading materials was a notable obstacle for the mothers.  Based on the results of this research, the investigator recommends that ETINAR continue providing information regarding the importance of early literacy and its essentiality for early childhood development to mothers in the communities in which FCID works.  She also recommends that the program provide access to high quality, age appropriate reading materials in order to overcome this obstacle to practicing early literacy.

 

Courtney Newsome, Warren Wilson College, F11: The next steps to achievement: An evaluation of Lideres Defensores de Nuestro Pais, a leadership group for youth based in Niños con una Esperanza

 From August to December 2011, youth from the organization Niños con una Esperanza (NCUE) in collaboration with CIEE formed the new group, Lideres Defensores de Nuestro Pais.  At the beginning of the semester, the group created two main objectives: 1) to continue with the group throughout the semester and 2) develop and strengthen group members’ skills for the years to come. In order to achieve these two objectives it was necessary to collect all data and information on the purpose and the structure of the group. The research was conducted to understand the information and determine what would be the best possible next steps to continue the leadership program into the future.  The objectives for the study include: 1) to better define the purpose of the group, 2) to determine what strategies can/should be used, 3) to determine an appropriate structure for the group, 4) to determine whether other people within NCUE can assist in the leadership program or assume a more involved role within the group and 5) to identify the available resources.  The data was collected through interviews and questionnaires with the group members of Lideres Defensores de Nuestro Pais as well as staff members of NCUE, and participatory observation of the focus group. The results of the research indicate that the leadership program is the headed in the right direction, and with a few improvements will be able to develop further over the long term to continue achieving their potential as a group.

 

Nara Baker, Clark University, F11: Profiles of boys, girls, and adolescents in situations on the street in Santiago, Dominican Republic

 During Fall 2011, a profile of children and adolescents working in five areas of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, was compiled through a series of structured questionnaires.  The intention of the study was to better understand the problem of children living in the streets by compiling data about their lifestyles and circumstances.  The emphasis of the study was placed on the generation of information that would be useful to develop an effective rehabilitation program in Accion Callejera, an educational foundation that provides support for children and adolescents in vulnerable situations.  Accion Callejera uses the method of prevention and intervention with the idea that each child has the right to be human.  The objectives were to identify and describe the tendencies of age, type of work, area of the city to prioritize the problems so that Accion Callejera can begin the rehabilitation.  The research concludes that even though the services to rehabilitate the children and adolescents in the streets exist, they almost never go to Accion Callejera.  It is necessary to broaden their outreach work because there is a high number of children and adolescents of high risk in the streets of Santiago.  

 

08/07/2011

Spring 2011

Lila Trowbridge, Clark University, S11: The understanding of and implementation of values through the youth leadership program “Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País” within Niños con una Esperanza in La Mosca, Cienfuegos

 For youth living in the marginalized community of Cienfuegos, Dominican Republic, where there are high levels of unemployment, drug use, and teenage pregnancy, it is difficult to not get caught up in the surrounding negative environment and even more difficult to take the initiative to be a leader and promote positive change.  This research focuses on the lives of eight students (ages 10-17) of Niños con una Esperanza, an after-school tutoring program for at-risk youth in La Mosca, Cienfuegos.  The main objective of the study was to obtain information regarding the ways in which these students learn and realize their interests, attitudes, and abilities in leadership within their community.  Through direct observation and the administration of questionnaires to both the students and their parents, the results were obtained.  It was found that the there was a lack of recognition, on the parents’ part, of the importance of these adolescent years and a perception of the adolescents as delinquents that lack values.  It was made clear that there is a large need within Cienfuegos to pay attention to the growth and development of young people during these crucial years.  On the other hand, it was also determined that the youth leadership program Líderes Defensores de Nuestro País is a positive force in determining values and personal development.  It is recommended that the program find specific projects for the youth to work on, find a consistent mentor of the program and involve more students to ensure the program´s future success.

 

 

Alexandra Panagore, Clark University, S11: The role of the siblings of children with disabilities in the lives of the children with disabilities: Their responsibilities and effects

 This study examines the roles of siblings in the lives of children with disabilities and the effects of these roles in the Santiago region of the Dominican Republic. It was carried out in collaboration with members of the Dominican Child Care Foundation (FCID), specifically the rehabilitation program, and participating families of children with disabilities. The purpose of this research was to examine the role of siblings in the lives of children with disabilities, and therefore to raise awareness to the issues faced with these children caring for their siblings. The results of questionnaires completed by siblings ​​between the ages of twelve and eighteen demonstrate family problems regarding the feelings between the siblings and their responsibilities. A correlation between parents’ free time and their levels of responsibilities at home was determined.  It was likewise determined that the parents need a balance between their own lives and the lives of their children with disabilities and without disabilities. Recommendations for parents and FCID include a support group for siblings of children with disabilities and ideas of balancing time between family members.

 

 

Kendra O’Connor, George Washington University, S11: You are what you eat: A study of the nutritional health state of the children of Los Prados

 The following research is a study of the nutritional health of children in the community of Los Prados, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  It was realized by the investigator in collaboration with the community-based center of primary healthcare Juan XXII and the supervisor and health promoters in Los Prados.  The nutritional state of 72 children ages 3 to 8 was classified after medical examinations.  The objective was to analyze the social factors associated with child malnutrition as identified by interviews with 34 mothers.  The social factors determined to have the strongest connection with incidents of malnutrition include the age of the mother during childbirth, their marital status, their food sources and their lack of understanding of basic nutrition.  As a result of this research, a nutrition club was formed to facilitate the access to this crucial information in Los Prados.

 

Jacob Taddy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, S11: A study to discover the best possible option for the classification of Arte a Mano

Arte a Mano is an artisan association based in the Northeast sector of Santiago. This study researches the best possible option for the association as it prepares to take its next step as either a business, cooperative, or a non-governmental organization. Furthermore, this study explores the requisites necessary for each step needed in the application process. The purpose of this research is to identify and establish agreed upon statues that will hold the association accountable. Secondly, it intends to present all possible options that the group can take in achieving its end goals. The study shows that the classification as a cooperative would best meet the objectives of the artisan group; however, in order to achieve this classification the statues must be revised signed and ratified. Therefore, the study recommends the complete revision and consensus on the statues to be signed into regulation in addition to a trained professional to come and talk about what it means for the artisans to become a cooperative in order for group members to make the best possible decision on the future of the groups classification as an organization. 

 

Celia Arias, Simmons College, S11: Late Registration for children, adolescents, and adults in Hoyo de Puchula, Santiago Dominican Republic: The economic, social and psychological barriers.

 The documentation of a person is extremely important for their participation in society. It is difficult to prove a person’s name and nationality with no legal documentation to verify that he/she is registered to the State. From February until April 2011 research was conducted in the sector of Hoyo de Puchula, Santiago, Dominican Republic to identify why a large number of parents do not possess legal documents for their children. This study analyzes the economic barriers and the social and psychological impacts that the fathers, mothers and guardians face in obtaining birth certificates for themselves and their children. The research concluded that although there exists the option of applying for late declaration, the process is complicated because of fees, pre-requisites and a lack of economic resources to complete the process. With this conclusion, steps were taken to facilitate and then introduce community members to the process of applying for late declaration. The result was a number of projects to escort the parents and guardians to four different registration offices of Santiago, the office of Asuntos Pedaneos of the city council where they verify children that are not registered under the mayor of Santiago. These activities support the late declaration program of Accion Callejera who works to register children and stresses the importance that birth certificates have in granting a name and a nationality to people.

 

Rachel Keller, Kenyon College, S11: A Study on the knowledge and abilities of the health promoters working to prevent and educate about asthma for Juan XXIII in Corea, Zona Sur.

 Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 1 out of 10 people. Juan XXIII a local public clinic operating in the Southern Zone of Santiago de los Caballeros and works with local citizens in the clinic itself and in their communities through house visits led by health promoters.  This study explores the knowledge of the Juan XXIII promoters on the issue of asthma as well as the resources at their disposal.  The objectives of the investigation are to 1) evaluate the knowledge of the promoters about asthma, 2) compare and identify the knowledge of families in Corea with and without a family member living with asthma, 3) examine and interpret the capacity of the promoters in their ability to assist patients with asthma and inform the community about the topic and 4) discover ways promoters can increase awareness in the clinic and communities. The tools used to conduct the research were direct observation, interviews, literature, and questionnaires. The results of the research show that there are a lack of resources in terms of information and materials for the promoters to use when working in the community. The promoters, community members and patients that suffer from asthma lack knowledge on the theme of asthma. Furthermore the results of the study show a substantial presence of asthma in the Corea community and recommends Juan XXIII continue informing communities about asthma in other communities.

 

Margaret Federici, Clark University, S11: The effectiveness of the meetings of the youth groups, age 11-13, of Los Platanitos, Gurabo, in reaching the goals of Oné Respe   

The following research analyzes the interpretation and implementation of One Respe’s goals within its youth groups. The organization’s goals include the reception and outreach of the group within the community and their training.  These are objectives characteristic of the organization’s mission and are also applied to its health, education, human rights and artisan programs.  Since the youth group is one of One Respe’s newest initiatives, its staff is still in the process of creating a methodology that will best reach the youth and the organization’s goals. 

The study has two parts.  The first examines the understanding of youth aged 11-13 and how they benefit from the youth group’s objectives, which furthermore includes an exploration of the perceptions of the youth’s parents about the group and its intentions.  The second part is focused on how the facilitators of the youth group define their goals and which methods are utilized to implement them. 

An additional objective is to determine how the third goal, the outreach in the community, can be realized in terms of youth action, to better their local community of Los Platanitos. 

The conclusions of this study were realized through the collection of qualitative data through participatory observation, informal interviews, questionnaires, and a group activity with younger youth and a focus group with the facilitators.  The research provides suggestions about how the organization can reach its desired effects for each goal, specifically for youth aged 11-13.  The recommendations also consist of strategies to involve the parents in the youth’s learning to reinforce the mission of the organization, a more effective plan for the meetings of facilitators and potential steps to begin the process of change in the community. 

 

Aysha Abraish, Clark University, S11: An evaluation on the effectiveness of using multipliers to teach students from the Guayabal community about the PITS program (Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections) from the organization Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicamo (FCID)

The following research is a case study of the pedagogy of the PITS (Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections) program at Fundacion Cuidado Infantil Dominicana (FCID), which teaches specific themes to community volunteers or multiplicadores who then teach other community members.  The focus of the research took place in the community of Guayabal, specifically two classes within their community school.  The research evaluates the effectiveness of the multiplicadores in their transmission of information to students.  The objectives were to evaluate the knowledge of students before and after their training; observe which teaching methods were most and least effective; and make concluding recommendations to better increase the program’s effectiveness.  The tools utilized included a pre-test, post-test, observations and interviews.  The results of the pre-test and post-test revealed that there was an eight percent increase in knowledge between the two tests.  When viewing these results, it is important to take into account the nature of the test and the external factors outside of the multiplicadores control (ex. Noise, too many students, time).  Despite these factors, there is great room for improvement for multiplicadores to define their role and develop effective teaching methods.  Recommendations for program improvement include: only using one or two visuals per workshop, using “mini-quizzes” to evaluate the understanding during each workshop, encouraging student involvement through skits, and finally using more than one workshop to teach each theme.  

 

08/06/2011

Fall 2010

Julia Rubin, Clark University, F10: The Stigma of Disabilities: How it Affects the Parents of Children with Disabilities

     Through the collaboration with members of Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID) and members of the communities in which they work, the following research was conducted about the rehabilitation program for children with disabilities.  The proposal was to understand the community’s perception of disabled children and how this perception affects families, particularly parents.  The results of the parents’ questionnaire show a need for more awareness, acceptance and resources in the community.  The questionnaires also show gender inequality in families that are part of the program.  On the other hand, they show that these challenges do not prevent parents from caring for their children with positive attitudes.  Parents may be more positive as a result of the support and therapy they receive from FCID.  The recommendations utilize the pride that the parents have for their children, and their confidence in their abilities as parents, to fight to change each community’s stigma of disabilities.  They include: the distribution of brochures with basic information about disabilities, conversations with teachers about individual children’s needs and lectures in communities about the misconceptions of disabilities.

 Amanda Doyle, University of Richmond, F10: Niños con una Esperanza:  Information Technology and the Triangular Support of Teacher-Facilitator-Parent

     In the marginalized neighborhood of Cienfuegos, Santiago, Dominican Republic, a large population of students in elementary school do not know how to utilize basic resources like encyclopedias, dictionaries or the internet and therefore are not completing the homework assigned to them.  This research explores the gaps between the teachers; facilitators and parents of the children at Niños con una Esperanza, and explain how these vacancies affect the academic life of the students.  The primary objectives of the study were: to determine the available resources at Niños con una Esperanza, discover the expectations of teachers, to investigate ways to improve the access to resources, and to find ways to facilitate better communication between the teachers, the organization and the parents.  This report is exploratory research that utilizes questionnaires, interviews and personal observations with teachers, facilitators and the directors of Niños con una Esperanza.  The results of the questionnaires show that teachers are unaware of the resources to which they have access and the students are expected to use resources they do not have; neither have they been taught how to use them. The research concludes that the students are assigned homework that neither parents nor facilitators understand how to complete, even though they are interested in helping.  The main recommendations include: improving the communication between teachers, facilitators and parents, through a created homework book; and utilizing the resources that are available in Cienfuegos. 

 Mike Gerson, Dickinson College F10: Changing Knowledge and Behavior: A study to reduce the levels of Hypertension through social action in the community of Camboya

    The neighborhood of Camboya in Zona Sur, Santiago, has the highest levels of hypertension (and the lowest instances of medical visits) of the three communities served by the nearest clinic—Unidad  de Atención Primaria (UNAP).  This study researches the causes of the high levels of hypertension between September and November of 2010.  The objective of this research was to lower the amount of hypertension in the community by 1) identifying the healthy habits of the community 2) identifying the unhealthy habits of the community, and 3) measuring interest in a hypertension group in order to increase healthy living habits of the community.  The results of this research show that risky behavior and lack of information in the community contribute to the high amounts of hypertension.  Community members with hypertension and without showed similar results.  However, the only significant difference was age, which was shown to independently predict hypertension.  Having more than three children (for women) or having a difficult economic situation causing chronic stress were also high risk factors.  For those diagnosed with the disease, the economic burden of hypertension may cause more stress resulting in a less healthy lifestyle.  Furthermore, the results show that the community has a strong desire for a hypertension group and are motivated to participate in it. 

    This research recommends the creation a hypertension group, a healthy living group, and a prevention campaign to identify and help the vulnerable population (including men between the ages of 38 and 44, women between the ages of 45 and 54 and women with more than three children).  The hypertension group should weigh and take the blood pressure of people, begin support groups and have neighborhood walks.  The healthy living group should expand its services to include the treatment of other sicknesses and activities to empower the community.  Finally, UNAP should interview their communities and incorporate its interests and activities in the health groups.  

08/05/2011

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.