Our project seeks to raise awareness by thinking about road education and delving into the depths of caring for others and for oneself based on mutual respect and a value for life. Consensus building has been the strategy we have chosen.
The project begins by identifying the complex situations involved in the pedestrian and vehicular access of children, young people and adults going to and from school during arrival and dismissal. These complex situations put at risk the physical well-being of the members of the educational community at those times.
Within the framework of Your Ideas Your Initiatives, students, members of the Board of Directors of the Nuestra Tierra Association, management teams of the initial, primary and secondary levels, as well as some parents decided to recover previously carried out actions, to analyze them and to figure out new interventions that definitively solve the problem and guarantee a safe access to and from the institution.
Based on the participants’ observation records, reports from previous years, analysis of previous experiences regarding traffic management and parking at the aforementioned times, as well as systematized surveys to families, the following explanation was given: Although special parking sites have been planned and traffic management was expected to be taken up by families at arrival and dismissal, it has not yet been possible to modify the behaviors and attitudes which would allow these actions to be sustained over time. It is attributed, in the first instance, to forgetfulness, distraction, driving comfort, etcetera. The problem has not only been limited to informing, disseminating and signaling. It also includes generating forms of awareness among all members of the educational community. At the time of the plenary sessions, this was considered the most difficult challenge, and a search for consensus, empathy, and original and creative strategies would be necessary to achieve the goals. Above all, it was emphasized that the students themselves carry out the project and incorporate the actions of caring for others and for themselves.
The objective of the project has been to raise awareness among all members of the educational community regarding respect for others and for themselves based on their own personal view of everyone’s needs and vulnerabilities at the time of arrival and dismissal.
The implemented actions have been in line with the central axis of the project: "awareness through consensus", understanding that the dissemination of information and signaling were not enough to modify social practices. For this, it was decided to implement a series of meetings with neighboring representatives, with municipal officials and the school board. In these meetings, actions were taken from the previous school year to give them continuity: improving pedestrian paths, weeding their surroundings, and reconditioning parking spaces.
As for new initiatives, there were messages via e-mail to the families in a personal letter disseminating plans and ideas on how to travel in a vehicle or while walking, and taking care of each other; also implemented was a conversation with each family, at the moment of arriving at the school in vehicles, about parking, etcetera, which were always carried out by secondary level students accompanied by delegated parents.
This strategy has been well received by families, students and the entire educational community. There has been some improvement and fluidity of the congestion and ordering of traffic at the entrance and exit of the school. We continue to believe that the search for consensus through dialogue, respect for others and the defense of the collective well-being must always be the basis for any line of action that we continue to carry out. We are now thinking of incorporating theatrical strategies to mobilize and further challenge awareness, because the attitude of caring for others is not only valuable for solving our situation but for every form of social life.