*25 adolescents—6 girls and 17 boys—successfully concluded the sixth Building and Plumbing Course with a Climate Change Focus in Nicaragua’s South Caribbean Coast region.
Bluefields. During a joy-filled morning event, 25 out-of-school adolescents behind with their schooling successfully concluded the sixth Building and Plumbing Course with a Climate Change Focus in Bluefields in Nicaragua’s South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS). The course was promoted by the Regional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Directorate (DRASH), with technical and financial support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We work with adolescents across the country and particularly in Bluefields, because the statistics tell us that the greater the inequities, the exclusion and the violation of their rights, the greater possibility there is of adolescents facing violence and alcohol and drug consumption and coming into conflict with the law,” explained Iván Yerovi, the UNICEF Representative in Nicaragua.
The lack of job opportunities, family disintegration, school dropout and a context of frequent drug and alcohol consumption are just some of the factors that increase the risk level for the population in general. With the aim of building adolescents’ resilience to these adverse situations, these courses have been held since 2013 in order to develop technical and entrepreneurial competencies and life skills among out-of-school adolescents from both of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast autonomous regions.
Keys to success: the psychosocial approach, gender equity and a learning-by-doing methodology
The course has three modules. The first is a building and plumbing module that employs a “learning-by-doing” methodology which allows the participants to learn the basic elements involved in the construction of water supply and sanitation works with a climate change adaptation focus.
The second is a psychosocial accompaniment module that fosters the development of social skills among the adolescents so they can strengthen their self-esteem, focus their life with a more optimistic vision of the future, rebuild their family and community ties, and consider returning to the education system.
Finally, the third component is an entrepreneurship module that provides the basic tools for the participants to organize their own micro-business as an alternative way of generating income once they finish the course. This contributes to the development of a sustainable life project with socioeconomic stability for both them and their families. “We want these courses to continue being promoted so they can have the tools to work, rather than leaving these adolescents to take drugs, drink alcohol and get caught up in delinquency,” said Yanory Ester Obando, the mother of one of the adolescents who completed the course. “I’m sure that what they received will help them grow as human beings.”
As part of the training process, the adolescents do water and sanitation building or repair work at schools and health units in Bluefields. “Through this course, we have renovated hydro-sanitary infrastructure in the ‘Monseñor Mateo’ and ‘Rubén Darío’ schools,” explained DRASH Director Inés Hernández. “These works allowed the 659 students (341 girls and 318 boys) attending the schools to have access to water and sanitation.”
The technical training was provided through alliances with the National Technological Institute, the Juvenile Court, the National Police’s Juvenile Affairs Directorate, and the South Caribbean Coast Regional Government’s Regional Youth Secretariat. “As public servants heading up the institutions, we have the duty and commitment to work with adolescents and young people,” stressed Ramona Solano, Coordinator of the South Caribbean Coast Regional Autonomous Council. “This is a priority for this government. These adolescents are at risk of becoming victims or committing crimes and it is the responsibility of all of us to make our contribution.”
To date, USD 170,855.00 have been invested in the six courses held in the RAACS, which includes seed capital. A total of ten courses have been held in the South Caribbean and North Caribbean regions between 2013 and 2016, with 290 adolescents (199 boys and 91 girls) successfully completing them. The total investment for all of these courses amounts to approximately USD 277,271.63, with the sixth course in the RACCS costing an estimated 760,360.78 córdobas (USD 25,825.28).
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Olga Moraga, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Nicaragua firstname.lastname@example.org.