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16 posts categorized "Independent Research Abstracts & Capstone Projects"

08/04/2011

Spring 2009

Julianna Kessler, Clark University, S09: The level of 1st grade student integration in classroom activities in the community school of Los Platanitos de Santiago, Dominican Republic

    The following research is about the level of integration of students in classroom activities in the community school of Los Platanitos in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  First, this study explores the profile of the population in Los Platanitos and how One Respe’s community school helps provide educational opportunities to the community.  Second, it looks at the teaching methods used in the school in order to better understand the pedagogical contexts and to describe an alternative method to better integrate students in the classroom.  A tangible project implemented to integrate four first grade students in the school was based off of the analysis of the data produced by the study and the conclusions.

 Jessie Nance, Scripps College, S09: An evaluation of the association Arte-a-Mano and its impact on the development of its members in the Northeast Sector of Santiago, Dominican Republic

     Working with the newly formed, community-based artisan association Arte-a-Mano during the spring of 2009, this study is an evaluation of the group and how they can continue to develop moving forward.  The objectives of the study were to identify the reality of the artisans of the association, analyze how the creation of the association has benefited the members, and determine potential areas where the association could assist in the development of its members.  Each member had different ideas of which direction to take the association, therefore one goal of the research was to determine the possibility of achieving each members´ goals in a process of collaborative development.  It was determined that the members of the association are not fully taking advantage of working together (for example to find better costs or enter new markets) and should continue with more collectivist attitudes rather than individualistic ones.  This study serves as a space to demonstrate the hopes that each artisan has for the association, which really have no limit of what they want to achieve.  This illustrates the collective force that they could have if they come together as one well-defined and united group.

 William Lehman, Clark University, S09: Research of the Impact of Music on Children in the Case of the Program ‘Niños con una Esperanza’

    This is a study of the impact of music on children and the desire and enthusiasm toward having opportunities relating to music in the youth program of Niños con una Esperanza, located in the marginalized area of Santa Lucía, Cienfuegos in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  The principal goal of this research is to identify the necessity and potential of implementing a sustainable music program that could offer a positive opportunity for the children involved.  The study identifies how such a program could be structured and why it would be a beneficial and appropriate addition for the children. 

    The primary objectives of the study include: observing the reactions of children towards music, identifying the most successful teaching methods to provide the best opportunity for children to learn music, researching the children’s’ enthusiasm toward music inside and outside class, determining whether they are interested in playing more music in the future, and finding the emotional effects of music on children.  Through questionnaires and direct observation, the study concluded that it is important to provide opportunities for children to learn and play music as an avenue for artistic and appropriate expression.  It was recommended that the organization continue to develop a music program for the children.  

08/03/2011

Fall 2008

Neil O’Loughlin, University of Illinois at Chicago, F08: Evaluation of the sports programs of Acción Callejera and Niños con una Esperanza

     This research was conducted during the fall of 2008 to identify the impact that sports have on children´s lives as well as evaluate the sports programs of both community organizations Acción Callejera and Niños con una Esperanza in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  It reaffirms how sports positively affect children´s lives and analyzes the specific characteristics of programs in the neighborhoods Hato del Yaque and Cienfuegos.  It searches to obtain the feelings of the children themselves with regard to these programs and their own growth through them.  The goal of this study is not to identify what these communities obviously lack—more staff, space, and financial resources—but rather look to what the program already does well and evaluate if they are maximizing their potential with what they already have.  It was determined that both sports organization should continue their practices because they are working well.  It was recommended that they seek additional ways to continue and expand their services, possibly through the creation of more sports camps and organized sports teams. 

 James Sheridan, Carleton College, F08: Knowledge and use of computers in Cienfuegos, Dominican Republic

     We are in the age of information technology; machines are becoming faster and the field of computer technology is growing every year.  Within the marginalized community of Cienfuegos in Santiago, Dominican Republic, schools fight to teach basic computer knowledge to students from the area.  In collaboration with the community-based education organization Niños con una Esperanza, this research has three main objectives: to measure the attitude of the teachers regarding the importance of computers, to investigate the awareness and availability to computers and how one is taught to use them, and to measure students´ knowledge about computer use.  Through a series of observations and questionnaires with 19 teachers from three schools in Cienfuegos, the research shows that the teachers agree that computers and technology will play a large role in the future of education.  For the first time in history, with access to internet, all economic classes have the same opportunities to education.  However, how can people receive the benefits of the internet if they don´t know how to use it?  The study recommends that the community continue using the resources available to teach students how to use computers/internet and even develop new programs as well.  It is also recommended that the organization train the youth to be leaders and continue to develop the computer library on their own.

 Tommy DeMarco, University of Minnesota, F08: The reality of artisans of the Northeast Sector of Santiago and their potential to formalize an association and develop other collaborative initiatives

     Working in collaboration with EMPRENDE, a local community-based organization that supports micro-entrepreneurs through business workshops and trainings, this study was carried out in the Fall of 2008 in Hoya de Caimito, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  It was conducted to determine the possibility of formalizing an association of artisans as a collective and community-based form of business development.  The objectives of the study included determining the principle limitations in each business’ development, evaluating the possibility of forming and formalizing an association of artisans in Santiago, and identifying other potential collaborative initiatives that could aid in the strengthening of each business.  Through a series of interviews, questionnaires and direct observations, the objectives were completed.  It was concluded that the principle barriers to the artisans’ business success included the current economic conditions, the lack of physical space to make and sell their art, and the need to identify new markets/clients.  This research also determined factors within the artisans’ control that could be utilized to overcome those difficulties, including: the creation of more modes of promotion, the purchase of art materials together to receive better pricing, and the very strong desire and motivation within the community to formalize an association of artisans.  The result of the research is a group of artisans well prepared to begin working together in order to further develop their businesses and community as a whole.

 Anne Fields, Davidson College, F08: The connection between violence and low self-esteem and the use of art as a way to counteract it in Los Platanitos Community School

     This study was a result of working with Oné Respé, a community-based organization that focuses on reflection, service, and solidarity, specifically in the community school of Los Platanitos.  This research studies the violence that exists at the school and in the community and explores alternative ways for children to express themselves without violence.  The children that attend the school have histories and intense experiences of violence in their lives.  Violence destroys friendship and solidarity among the students, inhibits learning in the classroom and creates a vicious cycle of low self-esteem.  Through a mixture of surveys, direct observations, and interviews of youth and adult community members, the data shows that providing children with other means of artistic expression creates a collaborative environment for students, gives them confidence, increases their self-esteem, and as a result, heightens their levels of learning in the classroom.  It is recommended that the teachers continue to use artistic activities as a means of reassuring the self-esteem and confidence of their students.

 Patricia Green, Carleton College, F08: Research of the Effects of a Physical Education Program on the Levels of Violence in Children at Oné Respe’s School in Los Platanitos, Santiago, Dominican Republic

    This study looks at physical education as a way of reducing violence in the community school of Los Platanitos, part of the organization Oné Respe in Santiago de los Caballeros.  The objectives of the research were to identify and define the types of violence at the school and measure the levels of violence amongst the students.  A physical education class was implemented to determine whether or not organized activity could have an effect on lowering violence at the school.  The study was realized through questionnaires on violence in the community, interviews with teachers and direct observation at the school. 

    The final project of this study was to create the capacity for a physical education program to continue at the school.  The research concluded that there are ways in which teachers can change their teaching methods or control the classroom so that less violence occurs.  It recommends that teachers be involved in recess and play constructive games with the children so that they have a more structured play time, which will then reduce violence or disruption during class. 

Emma Hyatt, Clark University, F08: Big Hits, Small Pieces: unsuitable nutrition, lifestyle and noise pollution, the problem of hypertension in Barrio Obrero

     The primary objectives of this research were to prevent and to lower problems of hypertension through a) educating people, b) lowering blood pressure and c) providing the community opportunities to better understand healthy lifestyle choices for those with and without hypertension.  It was done in the community of Barrio Obrero de la Zona Sur, in Santiago, Dominican Republic, from August to December 2008.  The study and results are a continuation of previous work about hypertension in the same community done by Kirsten Austad, a student of the CIEE-Service Learning program at PUCMM in March 2008.  The report studied the level of knowledge about hypertension in the community and found low awareness amongst community members, including misleading information and a lack of understanding of how chronic hypertension can have long-term consequences.  This current project used the interest that existed in the community to learn more about hypertension through workshops and house visits to motivate healthy lifestyle changes.  The results in SESPAS (Public Health) and interviews showed that the community does not have access to the adequate elements for a healthy diet nor do they have the knowledge of what a healthy diet consists of.  The results also show that there is a lack of knowledge about the effects noise pollution can have on hypertension.  The recommendations from the research to better the situation and the opportunities for a healthy lifestyle in this community are: a walking club; the continuation of educational workshops on health, a study on hypertension and the effects of noise; and access to resources and equipment for health promoters. 

08/02/2011

Spring 2008

Brie Goldberg, Clark University, S08: Situations that influence the performance of boys and girl, in their ability to strengthen and learn through the literacy program in the community school, Yaguita del Pastor, through the organization Accion Callejera

    The research in this study examines the behaviors that prevent learning in the classroom and determines the resources for educational achievement and the needs of the students in the Literacy and School Reinforcement Program at the community school of Yagüita de Pastor.  It names the factors that affect the learning of students in the program, the things that can be done to counteract these behaviors and the causes that prevent achievement.  The data shows that organized activities outside of the classroom can help students and families.  The students would benefit from more parental participation, a higher level of self-esteem, and more opportunities to practice behavior that supports learning.  The parents would benefit from more organized activities with their children and more interaction with members of Acción Callejera.  

Andrew Hausermann, Clark University, S08: That factors that influence child labor in the community of San Rafael in the Barrio La Otra Banda

    This research was conducted in the community of San Rafael del Barrio de La Otra Banda, Santiago, Dominican Republic from January to April 2008.  The objectives of this research were to recognize the factors that influence the amount of child labor in this community as well as identify the community’s needs, resources and hopes in regards to combating child labor.  The results were used to make a recommendation for a community development program as a part of Fundacion Educativa Acción Callejera. 

    The results showed that this community has an extreme level of poverty; a percentage of the community does not have access to basic services like: water, light, education, legal documents, good living conditions or basic nutrition.  The results also demonstrated that there are great differences between the situation of families with children who work and those who don’t, especially the number of people in the house; the knowledge of methods of sexual protection; the mother’s education; and the income of each person. 

    The fundamental recommendations of this research include: the creation of an educational program about family planning, sexual education and inter-familial relations; a declaration program for children; as well as increased assistance with educational transitions and help with access to municipal resources.   

Patille Nargozian, Clark University, S08A case study on the Peer Education Program in the community of Cienfuegos, Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

    This four-month research study evaluates the effectiveness of the peer education program or multiplicadores in Cienfuegos, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The results were measured through interviews with three different groups and qualitative data.  Two of the interviewed groups were multiplicadores with nine or ten youth.  The third group interviewed consisted of employees from the PITS program at Fundacion Cuidado Infantil Dominicana.  The results show that the multiplicadores are involved with youth in the community through workshops.  The motivations and reasons to participate in this program are to learn, help and teach other youth about sexual health and awareness.  The success of the multiplicadores is linked to the expectations and motivations of the program. 

Kristen Austad, University of Madison-Wisconsin, Harvard University S08: The Knowledge, behavior and interest in education and motivation of the health promoters working with adults with and without hypertension in the community of Barrio Obrero

    The initial research into hypertension in the community of Obrero, Zona Sur in March 2008 demonstrated the specific needs of the community.  Explicitly, a significant population with uncontrolled hypertension, many showing high risk factors for the disease in addition community members undiagnosed but are within the blood pressure range for hypertension (the majority of these are men).  There is also little knowledge in the community about hypertension, including misleading information and failing to understand the long-term consequences of the chronic disease.  Yet, the community has shown an interest in learning more about hypertension through workshops and house visits, and receiving help in changing their lifestyles. This hypertension project would introduce the topic of chronic disease to the Juan XXIII health promoters and serve as a model for others to continue.  The skills of the health promoters fit with what is required to prevent and control a chronic disease like hypertension.  Furthermore, the project is an opportunity for the health promoters to learn more about health, motivate the community to participate in healthy living, and provide health support network for the community. 

Kimberly Jinorio, Wingate College, S08: The characteristics of successful microbusinesses and their obstacles in the community of Villa González

    “What are the characteristics of successful microbusinesses and their obstacles in Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic?” The objectives of the study are 1) to identify the characteristics of successful microbusinesses and 2) to understand the obstacles for these businesses.  The characteristics and obstacles include gender, education, work experience, loans, location and the benefits for the business and community.  These factors are compared with accountability, size of business and rent of location.  The research found that female business owners have more education and more frequently use loans than male business owners.  The majority of business owners have a secondary-level education or higher though this is not linked with the age or size of the business.  However, 91% of people who do not have microbusinesses would like to attend classes about how to begin and develop one. 

Armen Kassabian, Clark University, S08: The Link between the Quality of Water and the Scholastic Understanding of Children that Attend Oné Respe’s Community School in Los Platanitos, Gurabo, Dominican Republic

    This research was completed in the CIEE Service Learning (PUCMM) program from January to April 2008 at One Respe’s community school in Gurabo.  It was conducted to determine if there was a need to increase the children’s consumption of clean water during the school day.  The study measures whether health problems from the consumption of contaminated water are connected to student achievement and efficiency in school.  Quantitative methods, including two questionnaires for parents and teachers were used to compile the data. Some conclusions of the study are: contaminated water leads to gastro-intestinal problems which may affect a child’s ability to go to school or finish homework; and a child’s nationality may affect his/her access to clean water. The results showed that the quality of education a child receives is connected to the quality of water the child drinks.  The final recommendations include: buying water filters for One Respe’s center and their community schools, classes on preventative health measures, and a workshop on the importance of clean water. 

Annie Burrows, Connecticut College, S08: The Effectiveness of Artistic and Alternative Programs for Children and Adolescents in the Community of Los Platanitos, Santiago: With an Emphasis on Dance

     This project and research was executed at Oné Respe and their community school in Los Platanitos, Santiago.  The primary objectives were to understand: the effectiveness of art programs for children and adolescents in this community, the ways in which the programs affect the youth, and the challenges of similar programs.  Throughout the semester, dance and art classes were given to the youth of the community.  The information for the study was gathered through academic sources, and interviews with youth, professors and the directors of the organization and school.      The results of the study showed, that the youth of Los Platanitos had attended art activities and after these activities, felt better about themselves and the work they did.  It was concluded that alternative and artistic programs are important and are accomplishing their goals each day.  The recommendations included the continuation of art classes in the community, as well as incorporating them in the school day.

 Hannah Caruso, Clark University, S08: Motivation and Training of the People of Los Platanitos, Gurabo, Santiago, to Buy a Water Filter

     With the collaboration of the organization, Oné Respe, this research was conducted from January to April 2008, to better understand whether people in the community of Los Platanitos had the motivation or the knowledge to buy water filters for their homes.  Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data about the types of water used in the house, the understanding and opinions about water filters, the barriers preventing people from getting filters and the contact of Oné Respe and their health promoters in the community.  The results of the questionnaires showed that the population wants water filters, but is prevented from buying them due to economic circumstances.  It was concluded that there is an inconsistency of Oné Respe workers in the community and a lack of a health promoter system.  The recommendations include: a future study about the state of the health promoter system and an educational program about the importance of hygiene and clean water for the health of the community. 

Amber Huffstickler, Clark University, S08: The effectiveness of the Centro de Capacitación Luz Peña and the Centro de Capacitación Integral y Ecológico in relation to the needs of the community Villa González

     Community development in the Dominican Republic is characterized by programs that strengthen the construction of social capital among community members through community organizations.  The organization Fundación Hermanas de la Madre Dolorosa (SSM) contributes to this process through two training centers located in Villa González.  This research, conducted in the spring of 2008, examines the relationship between the objectives of Fundación SSM and the satisfaction of current community needs.  It also examines the effects of the centers on human development in the community.  The objectives were measured from surveys and interviews taken about the perceptions and the satisfaction of community members that have participated in courses at the two centers. It was found that the organization is successful in providing services; the members of Villa González value the personal and community development that results from the training classes.  Various recommendations were derived about how to better the services of Fundación SSM and create a broader agreement about the value of the two training centers within the community.  The primary recommendation is that the organization collaborate more with other community organizations.

 Jennifer Geyer, Davidson College, S08: An effort to combat the contamination of Barrio Lindo

     Trash and contamination are two of the most visible problems confronted by marginalized communities.  Clean community waste practices promote health by helping limit sicknesses caused by contamination.  In Barrio Lindo, there is a strong desire to end this problem and is possible through the awareness of good management of solid waste.  This study, in collaboration with Juan XXIII in the spring of 2008, researches the knowledge of the community around this theme and offers recommendations to solve the problem of contamination in a sustainable way.  It was conducted through a series of interviews with 25 families from each block of the community.  One of the main recommendations is that the organization should create a training program for the health promoters in the area about the management of solid waste.  In the future, the community should create a recycling program to continue developing in a sustainable way.

 Naomi Vinbury, Clark University, S08: Marketing of hand-made art in the Northeast Sector of Santiago, Dominican Republic

     This report is a summary of the steps taken in the research of artisans marketing in Hoya de Caimito and Pontezuela, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  The results were collected in the spring of 2008 through interviews done with artisans who create various art products.  The study identifies the areas in which the artisans need more support and resources.  The resources needed include business cards, a catalog, lists of client contacts, the entrance into larger markets, and modes of promotion.  The artisans are interested in being part of a cooperative of artisans working together.  The recommendations for EMPRENDE, the community based business development organization with whom this research was carried out, include offering workshops on how to start a cooperative, offering financial support to an artisan group, connecting them with larger art markets, and connecting them with other art organizations.  The recommendations for the community include continuing connections with EMPRENDE and the students of the CIEE Service-Learning program, creating and bettering the community fairs, and connecting artisans with government programs and foundations in the country that work in the art field.

 Sara Aardema, Hope College S08: A guide of possible models of a microcredit program for women entrepreneurs in the communities of Hoya del Caimito and Los Cerritos

    This research was executed through a study abroad program in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic in the spring of 2008.  The author had the opportunity to work with the organization EMPRENDE, a community-based organization that works with microbusinesses and their owners in the northeast sector of Santiago.  The research was compiled from January to April with weekly visits to specific businesses in the communities of Hoya del Caimito and Los Cerritos.  During these visits, it was clear that there was a need for greater access to financial credit for women.  This research studies the possibilities for EMPRENDE to create a microcredit program for women.  The theoretical framework discusses microcredit in general, microcredit and women, microcredit in the Dominican Republic and the relationship of microcredit with Dominican women.  Nine small businesses were interviewed in the communities of Hoya del Caimito and Los Cerritos in order to collect data for the research.  From this data, it was discovered that there exists the opportunity to create a microcredit program for small businesses in these two communities.  

08/01/2011

Fall 2007

Amanda Zitzloff, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, F07: A case study of the Multiplier Education Program at Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano

    This is a case study that analyzes a community educational program for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.  The research is based on evidence of the strong advantages of peer education in comparison to traditional forms of education.  The objectives of this research focus on the identification of common characteristics of the youth that participate in the program as well as the evaluation of the process utilized by the educators, with an emphasis on the strengths and weaknesses of the program.  The methodology used to collect data included personal interviews and qualitative analysis of the results.  The results show the need for the program in the community, the motivations of the youth to participate, and the areas of improvement for future programs.

 Robin Barron, Clark University, F07: A study of the life and education of children attending the Accion Callejera Commnity School in Yaguita del Pastor

     The objectives of this research were to understand, through quantitative-qualitative methods, what are the realities of the families participating in the literacy program of Fundación Educativo Acción Callejera in the neighborhood of Yagüita de Pastor, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The results show that life circumstances, primarily the factors of poverty, have a crucial impact on a child’s development in the classroom.  Based on the communities interviewed, the economic, health and educational level of parents served as indicators in their children’s development. 

    The research shows that Acción Callejera’s literacy program is dealing with the situation in an effective and direct manner.  It is important that the teachers and Acción Callejera continue to work with these families and children in order to ensure they do not abandon their education. 

Laura Myers, Carleton College, F07: A study of water use in Los Platanitos, Gurabo, specifically the use of filters to purify water

    In response to a study conducted about water conditions in the community of Los Platanitos, Gurabo that concluded with the beginning of a project selling water purification filters, this research was created to look at water in relation to the health of the community. In order to continue with the previous project, this study analyzes the uses of water in order to understand the needs in the community and determine the potential of the filters’ performance.  Through interviews, the study examines the experiences of five people using the filters and the role of water in the lives of ten people without filters.  The community has a basic knowledge of the risks from consuming contaminated water because people utilize water treatment methods such as water treated with bleach, boiled, and filtered or from a bottle.  Yet, the community still faces health issues caused by drinking contaminated water. Although the filters are an economic and practical way of obtaining safe water, there are still large financial barriers to obtaining them.  If the filters are distributed more throughout the community, via the promotion of community members, the quality of water and health in Los Platanitos would improve. 

 Abigail McClam, Elon College, F07: The Link between environmental pollution and lack of sanitary services leading to disease in marginalized communities in Santiago, Dominican Republic

    The connections between environmental contamination and community illnesses are researched in the following study. It includes three levels of analysis: a) data of the percentage of contaminants in the river and land, and the access to sanitation services in the city of Santiago; b) interviews with Haitians and Dominicans in the marginalized community of Los Platanitos, Gurabo; c) discussion of water-borne community illnesses.  The study shows that the environmental conditions in Los Platanitos, Gurabo are directly linked to the illnesses existent in the community and require an integrated system against the underlying health risks.  In the long term, it is critical that the community concentrates their efforts in quantifying the risks of environmental contamination.  The community should also forge and strengthen the community coalitions regionally, nationally and internationally in order to treat this problem and formulate programs for prevention and relief of environmental risks that affect the health of Dominicans. 

 Virginia Pollock, University of Minnesota, F07: The Efficiency of Juan XXIII and Cuidado Infantil Health Promoters in the Propogation of Information, Positive Attitudes and Successful Practices to Breast-Feed for Mothers in the Communities of Santiago 

     Between October and November 2007, this research was conducted to determine the efficiency of Juan XXIII health promoters teaching the practice and importance of breast-feeding in the community of Pekín, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The efficiency of the health promoters was determined by the mothers’ (with children under one year) understanding of breast-feeding. To identify the impact of the health promoters, it was necessary to define what information has been successfully communicated to the mothers.  The primary research was a diagnostic of breast-feeding practices, such as initiation, frequency, duration and use of food supplementation; and an exploration of the myths and barriers that interfere with a mother’s decision to breast-feed.  The data was found utilizing quantitative methods: two questionnaires, one for the mothers and one for the health promoters with closed and multiple-choice questions.  The results of the study provide a clearer view of the problems in Pekín related to breast-feeding and define ways to train health promoters in the more effective promotion of breast-feeding in the future.  The recommendations include a pre and post-test for the mothers in the Club of Pregnant Women, register the breast-feeding steps monthly to better measure the practice, and investigate the influence of the use of formula in hospitals.

Andrea Chicas, Scripps College, F07: Micro-entrepreneurial women within the informal sector of marginalized communities

     This research was carried out between September and November 2007, while an exchange student at La Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra and a participant in the CIEE Service-Learning program in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  It focuses on learning about the economic participation of female micro-entrepreneurs in the marginalized communities of Hoya de Caimito y Los Cerritos.  The first part of the study includes information about the background of the micro-entrepreneurs, characteristics of the informal sector in marginalized communities and the role of the women in a multi-dimensional sense.  For example, micro-entrepreneurial women are linked to education, family, jobs, community, and the Dominican economy. Understanding some of the relevant indicators contributes to understanding the reality of business management.  The second part of the research includes case studies of three entrepreneurial women that started their own informal businesses in Hoya de Caimito and Los Cerritos.  The purpose of this research is to integrate the stories of these three women, to observe different experiences of women entrepreneurs in an empirical way and also see how they develop in difficult economic situations including low-income or marginalized communities.  In closing, this research shows that the distinct and diverse realities of women entrepreneurs can help and advance the development of marginalized communities.  

07/31/2011

Abstracts

Coutrney 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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

Julianna Kessler, Clark University, S09: The level of 1st grade student integration in classroom activities in the community school of Los Platanitos de Santiago, Dominican Republic

The following research is about the level of integration of students in classroom activities in the community school of Los Platanitos in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  First, this study explores the profile of the population in Los Platanitos and how One Respe’s community school helps provide educational opportunities to the community.  Second, it looks at the teaching methods used in the school in order to better understand the pedagogical contexts and to describe an alternative method to better integrate students in the classroom.  A tangible project implemented to integrate four first grade students in the school was based off of the analysis of the data produced by the study and the conclusions.

Neil O’Loughlin, University of Illinois at Chicago, F08: Evaluation of the sports programs of Acción Callejera and Niños con una Esperanza

 This research was conducted during the fall of 2008 to identify the impact that sports have on children´s lives as well as evaluate the sports programs of both community organizations Acción Callejera and Niños con una Esperanza in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  It reaffirms how sports positively affect children´s lives and analyzes the specific characteristics of programs in the neighborhoods Hato del Yaque and Cienfuegos.  It searches to obtain the feelings of the children themselves with regard to these programs and their own growth through them.  The goal of this study is not to identify what these communities obviously lack—more staff, space, and financial resources—but rather look to what the program already does well and evaluate if they are maximizing their potential with what they already have.  It was determined that both sports organization should continue their practices because they are working well.  It was recommended that they seek additional ways to continue and expand their services, possibly through the creation of more sports camps and organized sports teams. 

 Jessie Nance, Scripps College, F08: An evaluation of the association Arte-a-Mano and its impact on the development of its members in the Northeast Sector of Santiago, Dominican Republic

 Working with the newly formed, community-based artisan association Arte-a-Mano during the spring of 2009, this study is an evaluation of the group and how they can continue to develop moving forward.  The objectives of the study were to identify the reality of the artisans of the association, analyze how the creation of the association has benefited the members, and determine potential areas where the association could assist in the development of its members.  Each member had different ideas of which direction to take the association, therefore one goal of the research was to determine the possibility of achieving each members´ goals in a process of collaborative development.  It was determined that the members of the association are not fully taking advantage of working together (for example to find better costs or enter new markets) and should continue with more collectivist attitudes rather than individualistic ones.  This study serves as a space to demonstrate the hopes that each artisan has for the association, which really have no limit of what they want to achieve.  This illustrates the collective force that they could have if they come together as one well-defined and united group.

 James Sheridan, Carleton College, F08: Knowledge and use of computers in Cienfuegos, Dominican Republic

 We are in the age of information technology; machines are becoming faster and the field of computer technology is growing every year.  Within the marginalized community of Cienfuegos in Santiago, Dominican Republic, schools fight to teach basic computer knowledge to students from the area.  In collaboration with the community-based education organization Niños con una Esperanza, this research has three main objectives: to measure the attitude of the teachers regarding the importance of computers, to investigate the awareness and availability to computers and how one is taught to use them, and to measure students´ knowledge about computer use.  Through a series of observations and questionnaires with 19 teachers from three schools in Cienfuegos, the research shows that the teachers agree that computers and technology will play a large role in the future of education.  For the first time in history, with access to internet, all economic classes have the same opportunities to education.  However, how can people receive the benefits of the internet if they don´t know how to use it?  The study recommends that the community continue using the resources available to teach students how to use computers/internet and even develop new programs as well.  It is also recommended that the organization train the youth to be leaders and continue to develop the computer library on their own.

 Tommy DeMarco, University of Minnesota, F08: The reality of artisans of the Northeast Sector of Santiago and their potential to formalize an association and develop other collaborative initiatives

 Working in collaboration with EMPRENDE, a local community-based organization that supports micro-entrepreneurs through business workshops and trainings, this study was carried out in the Fall of 2008 in Hoya de Caimito, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  It was conducted to determine the possibility of formalizing an association of artisans as a collective and community-based form of business development.  The objectives of the study included determining the principle limitations in each business’ development, evaluating the possibility of forming and formalizing an association of artisans in Santiago, and identifying other potential collaborative initiatives that could aid in the strengthening of each business.  Through a series of interviews, questionnaires and direct observations, the objectives were completed.  It was concluded that the principle barriers to the artisans’ business success included the current economic conditions, the lack of physical space to make and sell their art, and the need to identify new markets/clients.  This research also determined factors within the artisans’ control that could be utilized to overcome those difficulties, including: the creation of more modes of promotion, the purchase of art materials together to receive better pricing, and the very strong desire and motivation within the community to formalize an association of artisans.  The result of the research is a group of artisans well prepared to begin working together in order to further develop their businesses and community as a whole.

 Anne Fields, Davidson College, F08: The connection between violence and low self-esteem and the use of art as a way to counteract it in Los Platanitos Community School

 This study was a result of working with Oné Respé, a community-based organization that focuses on reflection, service, and solidarity, specifically in the community school of Los Platanitos.  This research studies the violence that exists at the school and in the community and explores alternative ways for children to express themselves without violence.  The children that attend the school have histories and intense experiences of violence in their lives.  Violence destroys friendship and solidarity among the students, inhibits learning in the classroom and creates a vicious cycle of low self-esteem.  Through a mixture of surveys, direct observations, and interviews of youth and adult community members, the data shows that providing children with other means of artistic expression creates a collaborative environment for students, gives them confidence, increases their self-esteem, and as a result, heightens their levels of learning in the classroom.  It is recommended that the teachers continue to use artistic activities as a means of reassuring the self-esteem and confidence of their students.

Brie Goldberg, Clark University, S08: Situations that influence the performance of boys and girl, in their ability to strengthen and learn through the literacy program in the community school, Yaguita del Pastor, through the organization Accion Callejera

The research in this study examines the behaviors that prevent learning in the classroom and determines the resources for educational achievement and the needs of the students in the Literacy and School Reinforcement Program at the community school of Yagüita de Pastor.  It names the factors that affect the learning of students in the program, the things that can be done to counteract these behaviors and the causes that prevent achievement.  The data shows that organized activities outside of the classroom can help students and families.  The students would benefit from more parental participation, a higher level of self-esteem, and more opportunities to practice behavior that supports learning.  The parents would benefit from more organized activities with their children and more interaction with members of Acción Callejera.  

Andrew Hausermann, Clark University, S08: That factors that influence child labor in the community of San Rafael in the Barrio La Otra Banda

This research was conducted in the community of San Rafael del Barrio de La Otra Banda, Santiago, Dominican Republic from January to April 2008.  The objectives of this research were to recognize the factors that influence the amount of child labor in this community as well as identify the community’s needs, resources and hopes in regards to combating child labor.  The results were used to make a recommendation for a community development program as a part of Fundacion Educativa Acción Callejera. 

The results showed that this community has an extreme level of poverty; a percentage of the community does not have access to basic services like: water, light, education, legal documents, good living conditions or basic nutrition.  The results also demonstrated that there are great differences between the situation of families with children who work and those who don’t, especially the number of people in the house; the knowledge of methods of sexual protection; the mother’s education; and the income of each person. 

The fundamental recommendations of this research include: the creation of an educational program about family planning, sexual education and inter-familial relations; a declaration program for children; as well as increased assistance with educational transitions and help with access to municipal resources.   

Patille Nargozian, Clark University, S08A case study on the Peer Education Program in the community of Cienfuegos, Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

This four-month research study evaluates the effectiveness of the peer education program or multiplicadores in Cienfuegos, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The results were measured through interviews with three different groups and qualitative data.  Two of the interviewed groups were multiplicadores with nine or ten youth.  The third group interviewed consisted of employees from the PITS program at Fundacion Cuidado Infantil Dominicana.  The results show that the multiplicadores are involved with youth in the community through workshops.  The motivations and reasons to participate in this program are to learn, help and teach other youth about sexual health and awareness.  The success of the multiplicadores is linked to the expectations and motivations of the program. 

Kristen Austad, University of Madison-Wisconsin, Harvard University S08: The Knowledge, behavior and interest in education and motivation of the health promoters working with adults with and without hypertension in the community of Barrio Obrero

The initial research into hypertension in the community of Obrero, Zona Sur in March 2008 demonstrated the specific needs of the community.  Explicitly, a significant population with uncontrolled hypertension, many showing high risk factors for the disease in addition community members undiagnosed but are within the blood pressure range for hypertension (the majority of these are men).  There is also little knowledge in the community about hypertension, including misleading information and failing to understand the long-term consequences of the chronic disease.  Yet, the community has shown an interest in learning more about hypertension through workshops and house visits, and receiving help in changing their lifestyles. This hypertension project would introduce the topic of chronic disease to the Juan XXIII health promoters and serve as a model for others to continue.  The skills of the health promoters fit with what is required to prevent and control a chronic disease like hypertension.  Furthermore, the project is an opportunity for the health promoters to learn more about health, motivate the community to participate in healthy living, and provide health support network for the community. 

Kimberly Jinorio, Wingate College, S08: The characteristics of successful microbusinesses and their obstacles in the community of Villa González

“What are the characteristics of successful microbusinesses and their obstacles in Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic?” The objectives of the study are 1) to identify the characteristics of successful microbusinesses and 2) to understand the obstacles for these businesses.  The characteristics and obstacles include gender, education, work experience, loans, location and the benefits for the business and community.  These factors are compared with accountability, size of business and rent of location.  The research found that female business owners have more education and more frequently use loans than male business owners.  The majority of business owners have a secondary-level education or higher though this is not linked with the age or size of the business.  However, 91% of people who do not have microbusinesses would like to attend classes about how to begin and develop one. 

Armen Kassabian, Clark University, S08: The Link between the Quality of Water and the Scholastic Understanding of Children that Attend Oné Respe’s Community School in Los Platanitos, Gurabo, Dominican Republic

This research was completed in the CIEE Service Learning (PUCMM) program from January to April 2008 at One Respe’s community school in Gurabo.  It was conducted to determine if there was a need to increase the children’s consumption of clean water during the school day.  The study measures whether health problems from the consumption of contaminated water are connected to student achievement and efficiency in school.  Quantitative methods, including two questionnaires for parents and teachers were used to compile the data. Some conclusions of the study are: contaminated water leads to gastro-intestinal problems which may affect a child’s ability to go to school or finish homework; and a child’s nationality may affect his/her access to clean water. The results showed that the quality of education a child receives is connected to the quality of water the child drinks.  The final recommendations include: buying water filters for One Respe’s center and their community schools, classes on preventative health measures, and a workshop on the importance of clean water. 

Annie Burrows, Connecticut College, S08: The Effectiveness of Artistic and Alternative Programs for Children and Adolescents in the Community of Los Platanitos, Santiago: With an Emphasis on Dance

This project and research was executed at Oné Respe and their community school in Los Platanitos, Santiago.  The primary objectives were to understand: the effectiveness of art programs for children and adolescents in this community, the ways in which the programs affect the youth, and the challenges of similar programs.  Throughout the semester, dance and art classes were given to the youth of the community.  The information for the study was gathered through academic sources, and interviews with youth, professors and the directors of the organization and school.  The results of the study showed, that the youth of Los Platanitos had attended art activities and after these activities, felt better about themselves and the work they did.  It was concluded that alternative and artistic programs are important and are accomplishing their goals each day.  The recommendations included the continuation of art classes in the community, as well as incorporating them in the school day.

Hannah Caruso, Clark University, S08: Motivation and Training of the People of Los Platanitos, Gurabo, Santiago, to Buy a Water Filter

 With the collaboration of the organization, Oné Respe, this research was conducted from January to April 2008, to better understand whether people in the community of Los Platanitos had the motivation or the knowledge to buy water filters for their homes.  Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data about the types of water used in the house, the understanding and opinions about water filters, the barriers preventing people from getting filters and the contact of Oné Respe and their health promoters in the community.  The results of the questionnaires showed that the population wants water filters, but is prevented from buying them due to economic circumstances.  It was concluded that there is an inconsistency of Oné Respe workers in the community and a lack of a health promoter system.  The recommendations include: a future study about the state of the health promoter system and an educational program about the importance of hygiene and clean water for the health of the community. 

Amber Huffstickler, Clark University, S08: The effectiveness of the Centro de Capacitación Luz Peña and the Centro de Capacitación Integral y Ecológico in relation to the needs of the community Villa González

 Community development in the Dominican Republic is characterized by programs that strengthen the construction of social capital among community members through community organizations.  The organization Fundación Hermanas de la Madre Dolorosa (SSM) contributes to this process through two training centers located in Villa González.  This research, conducted in the spring of 2008, examines the relationship between the objectives of Fundación SSM and the satisfaction of current community needs.  It also examines the effects of the centers on human development in the community.  The objectives were measured from surveys and interviews taken about the perceptions and the satisfaction of community members that have participated in courses at the two centers. It was found that the organization is successful in providing services; the members of Villa González value the personal and community development that results from the training classes.  Various recommendations were derived about how to better the services of Fundación SSM and create a broader agreement about the value of the two training centers within the community.  The primary recommendation is that the organization collaborate more with other community organizations.

 Jennifer Geyer, Davidson College, S08: An effort to combat the contamination of Barrio Lindo

 Trash and contamination are two of the most visible problems confronted by marginalized communities.  Clean community waste practices promote health by helping limit sicknesses caused by contamination.  In Barrio Lindo, there is a strong desire to end this problem and is possible through the awareness of good management of solid waste.  This study, in collaboration with Juan XXIII in the spring of 2008, researches the knowledge of the community around this theme and offers recommendations to solve the problem of contamination in a sustainable way.  It was conducted through a series of interviews with 25 families from each block of the community.  One of the main recommendations is that the organization should create a training program for the health promoters in the area about the management of solid waste.  In the future, the community should create a recycling program to continue developing in a sustainable way.

 Naomi Vinbury, Clark University, S08: Marketing of hand-made art in the Northeast Sector of Santiago, Dominican Republic

 This report is a summary of the steps taken in the research of artisans marketing in Hoya de Caimito and Pontezuela, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  The results were collected in the spring of 2008 through interviews done with artisans who create various art products.  The study identifies the areas in which the artisans need more support and resources.  The resources needed include business cards, a catalog, lists of client contacts, the entrance into larger markets, and modes of promotion.  The artisans are interested in being part of a cooperative of artisans working together.  The recommendations for EMPRENDE, the community based business development organization with whom this research was carried out, include offering workshops on how to start a cooperative, offering financial support to an artisan group, connecting them with larger art markets, and connecting them with other art organizations.  The recommendations for the community include continuing connections with EMPRENDE and the students of the CIEE Service-Learning program, creating and bettering the community fairs, and connecting artisans with government programs and foundations in the country that work in the art field.

 Sara Aardema, Hope College S08: A guide of possible models of a microcredit program for women entrepreneurs in the communities of Hoya del Caimito and Los Cerritos

This research was executed through a study abroad program in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic in the spring of 2008.  The author had the opportunity to work with the organization EMPRENDE, a community-based organization that works with microbusinesses and their owners in the northeast sector of Santiago.  The research was compiled from January to April with weekly visits to specific businesses in the communities of Hoya del Caimito and Los Cerritos.  During these visits, it was clear that there was a need for greater access to financial credit for women.  This research studies the possibilities for EMPRENDE to create a microcredit program for women.  The theoretical framework discusses microcredit in general, microcredit and women, microcredit in the Dominican Republic and the relationship of microcredit with Dominican women.  Nine small businesses were interviewed in the communities of Hoya del Caimito and Los Cerritos in order to collect data for the research.  From this data, it was discovered that there exists the opportunity to create a microcredit program for small businesses in these two communities. 

Emma Hyatt, Clark University, F08: Big Hits, Small Pieces: unsuitable nutrition, lifestyle and noise pollution, the problem of hypertension in Barrio Obrero

 The primary objectives of this research were to prevent and to lower problems of hypertension through a) educating people, b) lowering blood pressure and c) providing the community opportunities to better understand healthy lifestyle choices for those with and without hypertension.  It was done in the community of Barrio Obrero de la Zona Sur, in Santiago, Dominican Republic, from August to December 2008.  The study and results are a continuation of previous work about hypertension in the same community done by Kirsten Austad, a student of the CIEE-Service Learning program at PUCMM in March 2008.  The report studied the level of knowledge about hypertension in the community and found low awareness amongst community members, including misleading information and a lack of understanding of how chronic hypertension can have long-term consequences.  This current project used the interest that existed in the community to learn more about hypertension through workshops and house visits to motivate healthy lifestyle changes.  The results in SESPAS (Public Health) and interviews showed that the community does not have access to the adequate elements for a healthy diet nor do they have the knowledge of what a healthy diet consists of.  The results also show that there is a lack of knowledge about the effects noise pollution can have on hypertension.  The recommendations from the research to better the situation and the opportunities for a healthy lifestyle in this community are: a walking club; the continuation of educational workshops on health, a study on hypertension and the effects of noise; and access to resources and equipment for health promoters.

 Amanda Zitzloff, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, F07: A case study of the Multiplier Education Program at Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano

This is a case study that analyzes a community educational program for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.  The research is based on evidence of the strong advantages of peer education in comparison to traditional forms of education.  The objectives of this research focus on the identification of common characteristics of the youth that participate in the program as well as the evaluation of the process utilized by the educators, with an emphasis on the strengths and weaknesses of the program.  The methodology used to collect data included personal interviews and qualitative analysis of the results.  The results show the need for the program in the community, the motivations of the youth to participate, and the areas of improvement for future programs.

 Robin Barron, Clark University, F07: A study of the life and education of children attending the Accion Callejera Commnity School in Yaguita del Pastor

 The objectives of this research were to understand, through quantitative-qualitative methods, what are the realities of the families participating in the literacy program of Fundación Educativo Acción Callejera in the neighborhood of Yagüita de Pastor, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The results show that life circumstances, primarily the factors of poverty, have a crucial impact on a child’s development in the classroom.  Based on the communities interviewed, the economic, health and educational level of parents served as indicators in their children’s development. 

 The research shows that Acción Callejera’s literacy program is dealing with the situation in an effective and direct manner.  It is important that the teachers and Acción Callejera continue to work with these families and children in order to ensure they do not abandon their education. 

Laura Myers, Carleton College, F07: A study of water use in Los Platanitos, Gurabo, specifically the use of filters to purify water

In response to a study conducted about water conditions in the community of Los Platanitos, Gurabo that concluded with the beginning of a project selling water purification filters, this research was created to look at water in relation to the health of the community. In order to continue with the previous project, this study analyzes the uses of water in order to understand the needs in the community and determine the potential of the filters’ performance.  Through interviews, the study examines the experiences of five people using the filters and the role of water in the lives of ten people without filters.  The community has a basic knowledge of the risks from consuming contaminated water because people utilize water treatment methods such as water treated with bleach, boiled, and filtered or from a bottle.  Yet, the community still faces health issues caused by drinking contaminated water. Although the filters are an economic and practical way of obtaining safe water, there are still large financial barriers to obtaining them.  If the filters are distributed more throughout the community, via the promotion of community members, the quality of water and health in Los Platanitos would improve. 

 Abigail McClam, Elon College, F07: The Link between environmental pollution and lack of sanitary services leading to disease in marginalized communities in Santiago, Dominican Republic

The connections between environmental contamination and community illnesses are researched in the following study. It includes three levels of analysis: a) data of the percentage of contaminants in the river and land, and the access to sanitation services in the city of Santiago; b) interviews with Haitians and Dominicans in the marginalized community of Los Platanitos, Gurabo; c) discussion of water-borne community illnesses.  The study shows that the environmental conditions in Los Platanitos, Gurabo are directly linked to the illnesses existent in the community and require an integrated system against the underlying health risks.  In the long term, it is critical that the community concentrates their efforts in quantifying the risks of environmental contamination.  The community should also forge and strengthen the community coalitions regionally, nationally and internationally in order to treat this problem and formulate programs for prevention and relief of environmental risks that affect the health of Dominicans. 

 Virginia Pollock, University of Minnesota, F07: The Efficiency of Juan XXIII and Cuidado Infantil Health Promoters in the Propogation of Information, Positive Attitudes and Successful Practices to Breast-Feed for Mothers in the Communities of Santiago 

 Between October and November 2007, this research was conducted to determine the efficiency of Juan XXIII health promoters teaching the practice and importance of breast-feeding in the community of Pekín, Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The efficiency of the health promoters was determined by the mothers’ (with children under one year) understanding of breast-feeding. To identify the impact of the health promoters, it was necessary to define what information has been successfully communicated to the mothers.  The primary research was a diagnostic of breast-feeding practices, such as initiation, frequency, duration and use of food supplementation; and an exploration of the myths and barriers that interfere with a mother’s decision to breast-feed.  The data was found utilizing quantitative methods: two questionnaires, one for the mothers and one for the health promoters with closed and multiple-choice questions.  The results of the study provide a clearer view of the problems in Pekín related to breast-feeding and define ways to train health promoters in the more effective promotion of breast-feeding in the future.  The recommendations include a pre and post-test for the mothers in the Club of Pregnant Women, register the breast-feeding steps monthly to better measure the practice, and investigate the influence of the use of formula in hospitals.

Andrea Chicas, Scripps College, F07: Micro-entrepreneurial women within the informal sector of marginalized communities

 This research was carried out between September and November 2007, while an exchange student at La Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra and a participant in the CIEE Service-Learning program in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  It focuses on learning about the economic participation of female micro-entrepreneurs in the marginalized communities of Hoya de Caimito y Los Cerritos.  The first part of the study includes information about the background of the micro-entrepreneurs, characteristics of the informal sector in marginalized communities and the role of the women in a multi-dimensional sense.  For example, micro-entrepreneurial women are linked to education, family, jobs, community, and the Dominican economy. Understanding some of the relevant indicators contributes to understanding the reality of business management.  The second part of the research includes case studies of three entrepreneurial women that started their own informal businesses in Hoya de Caimito and Los Cerritos.  The purpose of this research is to integrate the stories of these three women, to observe different experiences of women entrepreneurs in an empirical way and also see how they develop in difficult economic situations including low-income or marginalized communities.  In closing, this research shows that the distinct and diverse realities of women entrepreneurs can help and advance the development of marginalized communities. 

 Kaleigh Isaacs, University of Colorado-Boulder, S07: The process of development created by the community center EMPRENDE

 This research explores the different impacts of EMPRENDE, a community-based organization that offers training workshops for small businesses, in the communities of Villa González, Hoya del Caimito, Los Cerritos, and Pontezuela.  The theories of poverty and development are used to contextual the process of training and the implications of the explored impacts.  The study had four main objectives, each one researching a different level or factor in the process: an evaluation of the level of current training; an exploration of the benefits of the training; a diagnostic of the link between the business and the personal life of the owner; and an exploration of the current and potential effects on the community.  These objectives were examined using qualitative methodology of observations and interviews.  The results of the research show a strong link between the services EMPRENDE provides and the benefits for the businesses involved, the personal lives of the owners, and the community in general.  EMPRENDE should continue offering these services and look for ways to expand by offering small loans to entrepreneurs, providing community fairs for local business owners and creating an association of small businesses in Santiago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring 2007

Kaleigh Isaacs, University of Colorado-Boulder, S07: The process of development created by the community center EMPRENDE

 This research explores the different impacts of EMPRENDE, a community-based organization that offers training workshops for small businesses, in the communities of Villa González, Hoya del Caimito, Los Cerritos, and Pontezuela.  The theories of poverty and development are used to contextual the process of training and the implications of the explored impacts.  The study had four main objectives, each one researching a different level or factor in the process: an evaluation of the level of current training; an exploration of the benefits of the training; a diagnostic of the link between the business and the personal life of the owner; and an exploration of the current and potential effects on the community.  These objectives were examined using qualitative methodology of observations and interviews.  The results of the research show a strong link between the services EMPRENDE provides and the benefits for the businesses involved, the personal lives of the owners, and the community in general.  EMPRENDE should continue offering these services and look for ways to expand by offering small loans to entrepreneurs, providing community fairs for local business owners and creating an association of small businesses in Santiago.