Our project "I am friendly, autonomous and sustainable with my environment" contributed to creating a civic culture starting in our institution, to then be expanded to other regional contexts.
We are a group of students at Caldas School Bucaramanga, Colombia. As part of our commitment during the hours assigned to student welfare, we assumed the challenge of building a better, friendlier and more sustainable institution. Along with the support of our class spokesperson and the school government, we decided to participate in the Renault project with our ideas, and generate our initiatives, betting on the mobility plan, "I am friendly, autonomous and sustainable with my environment" (“Soy autónomo amigable y sostenible con mi entorno”).
We know that over time, not only in Colombia and Bucaramanga, the accident rate has been increasing considerably; there is much news in the media showing an increase in the number of fatal accidents, many of them caused by imprudence. We recognize that in our city - as pedestrians, drivers and members of society - we do not yet have a civic culture that allows us to improve and reduce these statistics.
In this project, and as part of our educational model, we used the research methodology as a tool to collect information. We employed participant observation using media and surveys to collect information within the entire educational community (parents, students, teachers and administrators). We were looking to detect the main mobility problems existing within the institution; this has allowed an opportunity to build a mobility plan that allows us to make improvements in our daily context, from the moment we head towards school in the morning, within our halls, classroom and stairwells, moving throughout and around our school area and on our route home from school.
Our proposals do not end today; they are just the great beginning of a road project which we hope will serve as an example for every member of the Caldas educational community. Together, we can transform our reality with the collaboration of neighbors, bystanders, local officials, traffic police, and state agencies responsible for implementing mobility plans in the city.
We are very aware that generating safety culture does not begin and end in a month; it requires a serious, ongoing and consistent commitment. We assume the leadership for this proposal, at least through the years 2016-2019. In these next years, we can work on the promotion of road safety culture, the development of intelligent habits, responsibility and autonomy as declared in our philosophy.
We started our project by brainstorming creative proposals to help solve mobility problems.
From our analysis emerged these proposals:
- Online survey to find out what students, parents and teachers think about the problems of mobility. Published on the school website, the information was analyzed and tabulated by the student team to establish mobility problems. The analysis gave us the following results:
1. The main problem is the school entrance, specifically the parking lot.
2. Although everyone claims to know the road safety rules, they are not being applied.
3. Most of students and teachers use private vehicles.
4. Fortunately, the percentages of accidents related to mobility are minimal.
Observations: Using the technique of participant observation in and around the school, we found a close relationship with the survey results.
Selected project actions:
Road safety risks and responsible behavior.
Proposals for action:
- Control entry and exit of vehicles.
- Create a mobility group led by students from other lower grades with the project leadership.
- Demarcated zones, cones and safety signs.
- Campaign reflections (starting from basic primary education, preschool to middle and high school); campaigns would go hand in hand with institutional reflections.
- Sustainable environmental group, designed for the proposal of environmental conditions such as ecological trail routes, areas with environmental or recyclable products.
- Creating Safety Festival, including events such as a rally, from preschool to primary and high school education.
- Create games and applications via mobile phones and computers as simulators for training on safety standards, habits and road hazards.
- Use the of our institution’s media (radio waves Calditas, YouTube channel, TV programs, the school website, social networking sites)
We started the project with the following activities:
Organizing parking areas and signaling sites; demarcating the areas of vehicle and pedestrian crossing, through the use of zebra zones; using traffic signs: These activities were accompanied by general campaigns, starting from preschool, in May. We promoted activities such as a rally and parent involvement including the Asofacaldas (parent/teachers association) to help in the task of generating Citizen Culture; as a later strategy, we proposed improvements in the organization and access to the cafeterias.
Seedbeds also brought big ideas and big initiatives to the project, in one case a programming game. Students created mobility simulators with Scratch software programming. The game, called Across the Street, teaches us the importance of taking into account street safety standards when crossing.
Finally, as we said, this is only the beginning of a firm idea to change and create a new culture.
Thanks to programs like Your Ideas Your Initiatives, we are making a call for change, working together to innovate from a single idea, in order to reach the goal of making our homes, schools, city, country and world a more friendly and sustainable place; knowing that each of us are directly responsible for giving back a little of what we have taken from the planet. “I am friendly and sustainable with my environment "
Thank you so much!