Children’s perspectives in post-earthquake reconstruction in Ecuador
In April 2016, an earthquake devastated 95% of commercial and residential infrastructure in the community of Bellavista, in Manabí province, Ecuador. The Rebuilding Dreams For Manabí Project (Reconstruyendo sueños por Manabí) is helping Bellavista to reconstruct through a participatory urban planning process.
This project aims to integrate the perspective and needs of children aged 0-5 into the planning process, including the design and construction of a playground. More generally, it will introduce the people of Bellavista to the importance of the early years.
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Ardan KockelkorenResearch Analyst E-mail
Update on the project
Update, December 2017: At multiple workshops, community members and leaders were helped to think about life from the perspective of a 3-year-old by using props such as giant cardboard doors, tables and chairs. Anecdotal feedback from participants is that the workshops raised their awareness of what child development entails and what role the community can play.
At the workshops, participants discussed what infrastructure Bellavista should construct to support young children and families. Their recommendations have been conveyed to the relevant local leaders, and a video has been made to illustrate the realities of life for the community’s children – you can watch it here. With the participation of community members the project has completed construction of one playground for children aged 0-5, and is working on another.
What is achieved?
Final update, February 2018: All project activities are now complete, including the construction of the second playground. The choice of structures for the playgrounds aimed to promote gross psychomotor skills for children aged 2-5 years old, such as a short climbing wall, bridge, swings and small slide, and to promote socialisation and play skills. One playground was surfaced with palm coconut chips, the other with artificial grass.
Community members have given positive feedback on the playgrounds as providing a safe space for children and a place for neighbours to interact, strengthening bonds among community members and improving day-to-day life. With the municipal government still stretched by basic reconstruction challenges, the project trained officials of a local NGO, Mano Manaba, to replicate the workshops.