The first year of this five-year project focused on physical infrastructure, needs assessment, community engagement, logistical set up, and collaboration with our in-country Project Partners, the Williche Council of Chiefs (WCC).
With the help of the Project’s first volunteer, Mike Mooney, and project staff, renovations to an existing WCC building, Mapu Ñuke, provided the location for Wekimun School. These infrastructure improvements are also beneficial as this space serves as a health centre to the local communities.
Repairs were also done to the chafun, a traditional building used in Chilote culture, to provide additional space for Wekimun School courses. An internet antenna was installed to provide WIFI capabilities and twenty computers were donated by the local government.
Needs assessment interviews and community engagement in each of the five participating communities provided the information required for curriculum development of courses set to begin in March 2014. Pilot courses in the Indigenous language of Mapudungun and Chilote cosmovision have proven successful and garnered further interest and enthusiasm among community members.
Work with Chilean universities and the Ministry of Education is producing new opportunities for teacher training and certification that we will explore further in year two.
Project team members from Canada traveled to Chiloé throughout the first year to collaborate with local staff, Project partners, and community members. The Project Team from UPEI will be traveling to Chiloé in February of 2014 for further community engagement, curriculum development, and discussion around opportunities for Wekimun School.