Safe Schools in Peru – The importance of training

I enjoyed Matt Bussmann’s presentation on last year’s Safe Schools project in Peru. I was especially interested in Matt’s discussion of the training program that the team led in addition to their engineering efforts over the summer in order to better educate locals about earthquake building hazards and viable improvements. In that sense, I think the training they did there played a huge role in the sustainability of their project. As Matt mentioned, rather than simply fortifying one building, their project allowed for them to pilot test a specific approach to fortifying a building and then document this approach to ensure repeatability and scalability of the process. Thus, not only did the training guarantee that locals would contribute to the success of the summer project, but it also ensured that residents would have information that they could use in the future to construct earthquake-safe buildings in Chocos. To that end, I’m now additionally motivated to further the education/training portion of our project, as it will be necessary for us to work with locals in Bangladesh to ensure that our chlorination system is well-maintained and sustainable. Moreover, there has been some resistance in the past to certain chlorination systems due to the modified taste of the water, so it will be important for us to provide education about the benefits of chlorination and why it’s necessary. More importantly, we should work to tailor our project such that local residents in Dhaka are able to integrate the results of our project relatively seamlessly into their lifestyles rather than severely adapt their tastes, preferences, and behavior in order to accommodate cleaner water.

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