With the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Fabretto Children’s Foundation, the Better Approaches for Sustainable Education Services (BASES) Project has come to a successful end. The project contributed to an improvement in reading levels in primary school, implemented an alternative rural high school model, and promoted the participation of the Parents Council for safer schools.
The event was chaired by Ted Gehr, Mission Director of USAID Nicaragua, Kevin Marinacci, Executive Director of Fabretto Children’s Foundation, Velisario Paz, Educational Ministries Coordinator for the Dioceses of Bluefields and Siuna, and Elagnia Román, Departmental Delegate for the Ministry of Education (MINED).
The BASES project lasted three years, impacting the lives of 11,754 primary and 266 secondary students from El Rama, Muelle de los Bueyes, El Ayote, and Nueva Guinea, in the Autonomous Region of the South Caribbean Coast (RACCS). The project was carried out by the Fabretto Children’s Foundation with the support of the Diocese of Bluefields. This $1.3 million initiative directly benefited around 12 thousand students in the area (48% being female), serving 286 public and private schools. 652 elementary school teachers were trained in literacy techniques and 13 secondary school tutors were trained in the Rural Secondary Education System (SAT).
In primary education, the BASES project’s intervention focused on the first three grades in order to contribute to the development of early reading skills through reading clubs, the distribution of books, the creation of libraries, among other initiatives. As a result, the elementary students who were evaluated at the end of the project showed progress in reading and comprehension; from 5.4 words read per minute to 16.9. In like manner, thanks to the joint work with local partners, parents, teachers, and community leaders, it was possible to reduce the school repetition rate from 41% to 26%.
During the event, the Director of USAID Nicaragua, Ted Gehr said that “education is a very important pillar for the people and government of the United States.” He noted that “in 2017, with BASES and other programs, through USAID, the people and government of the United States helped more than 30 thousand children to read well, as a result of more than a thousand teachers knowing and applying different strategies for the teaching of reading. “
Similarly, this project has influenced the improvement of rural secondary education through the Rural Secondary Education System (SAT). In Nicaragua, SAT is an alternative education system for adolescents that follows a curriculum adapted to the students’ rural environment, using a methodology of “learning by doing” in addition to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.
“The BASES project has made the long journey to school undertaken by the children and youth of the RACCS even more worthwhile. Arriving in a classroom with a motivated teacher and the resources needed to learn is not only a right but also an important recognition of their effort,” said Cesar Dubois, VP Director of Programs of Fabretto Children’s Foundation.
The BASES Project’s objectives, achievements, and lessons learned were presented during the closing event. The presentation emphasized advances in early reading skills, the progress made by the students of the rural secondary school program, and the community’s development in general. Public school students were in attendance and representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Diocese of Bluefields gave speeches during said closing. In addition, there were cultural presentations by the Diocese’s Educational Ministry.