REACH – El Coyolar, Nicaragua
El Coyolar, also in Jinotega, has a population of approximately 350 people. It was founded in the 1970s by Francisco Rugama- he donated the land for the existing school and a baseball field- along with Santiago Cornejo, Ramon Rodriquez and Antonio Cornejo. The current elected leader of the community is Santos Pineda Blandon.
El Coyolar is 90 km from Managua and 6 km from the closest town, San Sebastian de Yali. The road from El Coyolar to Yali is good enough to allow for public bus service to operate between the community and town on a regular basis. There is also a river just 500 meters from the school site. The farmers of El Coyolar make their living by growing coffee, tomatoes, potatoes, corn and beans. April is the hottest summer month and October is the coolest and rainiest of the winter season.
There were three existing classrooms in El Coyolar, which were bursting at the seams with 154 students: 12 in preschool and 142 in primary and secondary school. Five teachers were teaching preschool and grades 1 through 6 in the morning, and 3 teachers were teaching 1st and 2nd year secondary students in the afternoon.
The new school block has two classrooms and two latrines, a poured concrete floor, cinderblock walls with windows and a corrugated tin roof.
The El Coyolar project started in July with the help of high school students from our partner after-school program in the US. These students were chosen from high schools in PA & NY and earned the opportunity to participate after doing extensive local community service. They participated in a covenant signing ceremony with the entire community before breaking ground on each new school. This covenant outlines the plan for the project and the following duties:
- Unskilled labor: 12 workers (6 women and 6 men) per day, six days per week
- Commitment to educating girls and boys equally
- The land on which the school is built
- High quality local materials: sand, gravel, water & rocks
- Volunteer management committee made up of 12 villagers (six women, six men)
- Lodging for buildOn Field Coordinator and skilled laborers in local homes
- Basic construction tools (picks, wheelbarrows, buckets, etc.) when available
- Engineering and architecture
- Construction materials (excluding local materials) for school and latrine
- Skilled labor and plans needed to build the school
- Project management
- Instruction in basic construction techniques
Total number of students: 154
Percentage girls: 49%
Number of grade levels: 9