Establishing an Educational Center in Pambamarquito by Santiago Martinez-Moure (A’22)

by cpinkerton
Sep 26

I joined Tufts International Development’s Ecuador team during the first semester of my freshman year. I was instantly drawn to the team’s e-book program, which helps to improve children’s welfare through a technology-based educational project.  I believed that working on this project would give me experience with a non-governmental organization, which was too appealing to pass up, and that is without even considering that the project is based in my home country.

We visited Ecuador as a team in August of 2019, and I was able to spend a couple of weeks in a mountainous region of Ecuador, where I have rarely spent any time. I grew up in Guayaquil (a major coastal city in Ecuador) and moved to the US shortly before I started at Tufts.  The fact that I was able to communicate effortlessly with the people in this new region, while simultaneously learning about a different side of Ecuadorian culture was very impactful for me.

A direct representation of this new culture was made evident once it was time to set up a new digital library at the school in  Monseñor Leonidas Proaño, in Pambamarquito, a small town on a hill in the Cayambe region. The view was beautiful, the head of the technology department at the school was incredibly knowledgeable and hospitable, and the children were enthusiastic and grateful to have access to all of this information.

We brought over the numerous laptops and focused on explaining how the Rachel Pi technology works to the school faculty through a keynote presentation and a hands-on demonstration. Similar to the KoomBook technology established in Minas and Jatumpamba in 2018, the Rachel Pi emits a Wi-Fi signal and allows the computers to access terabytes of educational content without the need for an internet connection. The children and faculty seemed particularly happy about having access to computers as there is low availability of technological devices in their remote location. However, having access to educational content that is sorely needed in their school was an even greater benefit, they said.

What comforts me the most about this new center we have set up is the dedication and professionalism of the faculty members. They all seemed committed to helping the children take advantage of this technology.  Establishing consistent communication with head of the technology department at the school and visiting the center once again in person in 2020 will ensure that this new center reaches its potential as one of our most successful centers yet.