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Host Organization: Colegio Dinamarca
FSD Grant: $524,50
Host Community Donation: $1,142.42
At the Colegio Dinamarca in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua, trash lined the walkways until being burned in the school yard. This is not an isolated problem in Nicaragua - 56.6 % of its households dispose of their garbage by burning it, burying it, or throwing into rivers and ravines. Consequently, Nicaragua's water and air quality is severely contaminated by toxins, profoundly affecting the nation's ecology. As in the rest of Nicaragua, the Colegio Dinamarca ignored the environmental problem. In addition, a lack of green space and plant life made the campus a challenging environment for learning. Teachers and administrators repeatedly cited trash as one of the main problems at the school and responded by forming a committee to tackle the issue. However, a lack of funding prevented the committee from making any progress.
In collaboration with the students, faculty, and the Mayor's Department of the Environment in Ciudad Sandino, FSD intern Sarah Ritter developed a school recycling program. The program organized an "environmental club" (a student group responsible for educating their peers), targeting the young members of the community. The program also included painting an educational mural, creating a compost garden, and organizing an environmental fair to involve the greater community.
With revenue earned from the sale of recyclables, the program covers the small costs of trash bags and transportation, allowing for its financial sustainability and future expansion. The compost garden serves as an educational tool for students while brining greenery to the school grounds. Similarly, the outreach efforts are virally spreading the message of environmental sustainability throughout the community.
Over 3,000 students and teachers were directly affected by Sarah's project, and there is potential for the program to spread to other schools, families, and institutions in the community. The program is a promising step toward shifting attitudes about how the community lives with its natural environment.
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