Building Health & Education Infrastructure
Architecture Brigades aims to alleviate needs in health and education through the design and hands-on construction of schools and health centers. Architecture Brigades also works with communities to identify construction knowledge and practices that are lacking in order to provide training by skilled masons and students. After construction, the infrastructure projects also becomes live trade schools, offering training to community members and providing international accreditation. Architecture Brigades works with the local government, health and education ministries, local communities, student volunteers, and accredited mason instructors to make student designs a reality.
Collaboration with Other Programs
Architecture Brigades works with each of the 5 programs offered in Honduras to complement the collective goals toward holistic development. Medical and Dental Brigades provides access to healthcare services in rural communities through short term clinics and trains local community health workers (CHWs) to provide basic healthcare and referral services. Architecture Brigades complements Medical and Dental through the construction of clinics, which include dental rooms and education spaces to ensure sustainability of the CHW program. Public Health Brigades constructs in-home infrastructure projects such as eco-stoves and latrines to combat preventable diseases and illnesses, which alleviate many needs but not all. Architecture Brigades complements the Public Health program by providing construction education to community members so that they can do repairs and improvements in their homes outside of brigades. Microfinance Brigades develops community banks to provide small loans for community members. Architecture Brigades complements the Microfinance program by providing the needed training for small loans, related to construction, to be a success. Lastly, Water Brigades constructs full scale water systems for communities. The secondary schools constrcuted by Architecture Brigades serve as community centeres for water council and basic sanitation committees. Rainwater collection projects also conducted at these schools reinforce water conservation, recycling and protection to the children of the communities.
Identifying Communities with Architecture Needs
Architecture Brigades is the last program to enter the community. Through a rapid needs assessment and information collected by the other programs, the Architecture Brigades team can analyze the needs for health and education infrastructure. The program identifies the sizes of the spaces needed, the proposed project sites, and other details needed for a full construction proposal. The team works with the local government, health and education ministries, and the local community to ensure community members are willing and ready to undertake a construction project. Architecture Brigades also ensures there is cooperation from the Health or Education government departments for staffing and stocking after the infrastructure is built.
Architecture program techicians and team members work with the community to prepare the site and determine construction tasks that incoming student volunteers will participate in. Materials and tools are also purchased for the construction work that will be implemented during 7 day Architecture Brigades with student volunteers. The community also plans cultural exchange days for students during brigades to show share their culture through projects such as tortilla making, coffee picking, dancing, etc.
The construction projects do no stop during non-brigade season. Architecture Brigades acts as a contractor, buying the materials and transporting them to the site. Architecture Brigades is also the link with the local government and supervises the project to ensure the construction is of a very high standard. Architecture Brigades also organizes the work groups with the community for project continuation during non-brigade seassons. The program also works on new initiatives such as masons training programs and working with the Microfinance and Public Health programs for in-home projects that can be done.
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