Fons Mallorquí’s school cooperation projects foster community development
The 10-year old project of cooperation between schools of Fons Mallorquí de Solidaritat i Cooperació helps community development through education.
Last July, a Majorcan delegation traveled to Nicaragua to get first-hand experience on the projects of the Mallorcan Fund in this country, where it has been financing cooperation actions for almost 20 years.
Fons Mallorquí de Solidaritat i Cooperació started the project of cooperation between schools 10 years ago. At the moment, the project is only developed in Nicaragua, but Fons Mallorquí would like to implement the same project in other countries such as Perú, Western Sàhara or Burkina Faso.
So far, 28 schools adhered to the project between Nicaragua and Mallorca. In the case of the Nicaraguan schools, they are selected by the UCOM (Unidad de Concertación y Cooperación Municipalista), the counterpart of the Mallorquí Fund in Nicaragua.
The twinning between schools allows increasing the services and improving infrastructures of the rural communities in Nicaragua. At the same time, it creates the possibility to participate in an exchange of knowledge between teachers and pupils.
All the schools participating to the twinning are located in Madriz Department: “an educational model is being created that seeks to guarantee a suitable school environment for the development of integral education”, explains Maryori Martínez, one of the people in charge of the project. Schools become a key part of countryside societies in Nicaragua and contribute to its development, as it involves the whole community: students, parents and teachers.
The recognition of the school as actor of development in the community is a challenge, but the citizens of Nicaragua are aware that the school is an ideal place to promote participation and strengthen a democratic culture of respect and cooperation. It is the ideal space to change attitudes and practices that are essential to the well-being of people.
Through these collective efforts, a school environment is created that focuses on the creation of safe and healthy environments, in a way that improves the quality of life of the people.
It is important to maintain this cooperation project in a country where the illiteracy rate is exceeding 30%. It is estimated that 49% of children in rural areas do not reach the fifth grade of schooling.
School drop-out is one of the major problems that the educational system in Nicaragua has, since it is directly related to economic and social causes, especially as it affects the labour market. The need for the families to incorporate the children into the labour activity directly affects school attendance. As a result, Fons Mallorquí believes that it’s important to focus on projects that foster community development through education and exchanges.