Community members prepare the cement for cement floors.
Sometimes we lose sight of the impact Community Challenge Funds (CCF) can have in small communities. The award of CCF funds to the Las Charcas (San Juan) cement floors project resulted in several changes. Just before Peace Corps Volunteer Erin Hicks was scheduled to complete her two years of service, a community member asked if he could make a presentation to the Neighborhood Association on the benefits of cement floors in homes. At the end of the presentation, the entire audience stood up and applauded. Excited community members asked if Erin would stay to help them organize the project. She enthusiastically extended her Peace Corps service and helped prepare an application for $2,500 to replace dirt floors for 12 of the 47 homes in this community.
During the project, a skilled mason provided instruction to an unpaid assistant who was able, by the eighth home, to do the skilled work at a savings to the project, resulting in enough funds for a thirteenth cement floor. To work toward a second phase of the project, the community charged a quota to each benefitting family, developing a fund to help pay for cement in more homes. A raffle and other fundraising activities have added to the fund, giving the community a great start toward paying for a self-run phase two. Erin reported that "this was the most successful project in my community". More and more community members are enjoying a dry home where their children have a clean place to play and a family gets sick less often.
The Community Challenge Fund supports basic needs projects in the Dominican Republic like this one. Community-based projects have provided water access, electricity, educational facilities, sanitation and improved health. Grants up to $2,500 for construction materials, for example, support the contributed labor of community members to construct needed improvements. On-site Peace Corps Volunteers help to plan, coordinate, and monitor projects. If you would like to support these efforts, please click on the donation button on the top right corner of this page.