Collective bio-building: a gender sensitive popular education

Country: Paraguay

Organization: BioEscuela popular El Cantaro

Representative: Joe Gimenez

Email: bioescuela@el-cantaro.com


Description of the project: This project is an original experience of popular education, a conscious political-educational trend in Latin America. Since 2012 students and families are collaborating on a community bioconstructed school, using local ecological materials. BioEscuela Popular offers regular courses for children and adults on traditional knowledge and culture, skill sharing, environmental, climate awareness raising.

In 2015, BioEscuela El Cantaro adopted a gender approach, by creating a special training program for low-income women, on how to process clay for construction and artisanal products.

Climate Impact: Sustainable, low-energy housing is key for fighting climate change. The Biobuilding workshops raise awareness among participants on climate challenges and our ecological footprint. Biobuildings use natural and locally sourced materials, which do not need high-energy processing, do not generate synthetic waste, and generally have high insulation qualities. (hay, clay). BioEscuela restores traditional and ancestral natural building techniques.

Gender Impact: A specific program has been developed with UN-Women to empower low-income women by building their capacities in the use of clay for construction and artisanal products. The objective is to provide them with technical skills that will enable them to find new jobs or create revenue-generating activities. BioEscuela El Cantaro provides classes for over 800 children and girls every year. Their sense of collective citizenship and solidarity is being strengthened to build a more gender sensitive and sustainable society.

Scalability /replicability: The BioEscuela Popular experiment has a nationwide outreach in Paraguay, many young people, women and children participate annually in the free trainings. The methodologies and good practices shared in the school are disseminated as open-source learning material through website and media. The concept is replicable in any country. The project sustains the community of Aregua by providing guidance on sustainable community projects and social and environmental village solutions.