San José South Computer Club House + Girls Only: Teen pregnancy prevention and comprehensive development for teenage girls
The City of San José has a population 322,155. It is the nation’s capital and is undergoing accelerated vertical development as well as a steady level of re-population.
The Hatillo district has the highest population density in the San José canton, as well as high rates of violence, drug trafficking, and unemployment. Furthermore, it is the district with the second highest rates of teen pregnancy.
The project seeks to promote a creative and safe learning environment for youth in vulnerable communities, where they can learn to explore their creativity, develop important skills, and strengthen their seld-esteem through the use of ICTS.
2. San José and Culture
In 2004, the Municipality, the Paniamor Foundation, and Intel developed the Computer Clubhouse” (CHSJS) with the “July 25” area, carrying out community infrastructure projects, the revival of public spaces for informal housing, formalization of housing, murals, art initiatives, implementation of the Youth Centre program, and the opening of the Computer Club House. This also involved collaborating with the Community Development Association to negotiate with drug trafficking networks, and thus help organize a disjointed community. Subsequently, an agreement was reach to provide better opportunities for high-risk populations, using creativity as an alternative for peace and conflict resolution, with technology as the tool that facilitates the creative process. As a result, “Girls Only” project was launched in 2010 with education programs focused on gender and identity, conflict resolution, sexuality management, and teen pregnancy prevention.
This project may contribute to poverty reduction (SDG 1),including equal access to services, such as new technologies (Target 1.4). Better information also entails improvements in health and well-being (SDG 3), especially with respect to sexual and reproductive rights (Target 3.7).
Technology and education resources help guarantee cultural rights for adolescents by allowing free access to the cultural resources that are necessary for them to actively participate in the city and to freely live their identity.
Additionally, the project is connected to technical knowledge and ICT education (SDG 4, Targets 4.4. and 4.b), as well as knowledge and skills related to gender equality (4.7).
The specific part of the comprehensive development project for women and teen pregnancy prevention is clearly linked to SDG 5. It promotes access to ICTs and universal internet access (SDG 9, Target 9.c), as well as to social, economic, and political inclusion (SDG 10, Target 10.2). It also requires access to information and knowledge for sustainable development (SDG 12, Target 12.8) and ensures access to information (SDG 16, Target 16.10).
3. Project goals and implementation
3.1. Main and specific objectives
The goal is to promote a creative and safe learning environment for youth in vulnerable communities, where they can learn to explore their creativity, develop important skills, and strengthen their self-esteem through the use of ICTs.
- Empowerment of young people by ensuring access to technological resources is a starting point for creating equal opportunities.
- Fostering healthy, respectful, and consistent relationships.
- Use creativity to nurture a community of apprentices and producers.
- To foster an inclusive and diverse environment.
- To promote meaningful exploration, invention, self-discovery, and collaboration through STEM, digital media, and the arts. This all helps create fun spaces where youth are likely to return.
- To help prevent unplanned teen pregnancy throughout the population.
The project takes into account the participation of young women in cultural life by taking specific measures to combat all forms of gender discrimination.
3.2. Project development
Teenagers between 12 and 19 years old. From January to November 2013, there were 386 active users, and 3659 young people participated in the technology interaction space during the year.
Main actions developed
- Marketing the CHSJS as a safe space for additional training.
- Supporting the target population with quality, comprehensive, relevant, and innovative training programs.
- Pedagogical and operational management of the model to be implemented in a cost-effective way.
- Identifying new knowledge through participatory research and evaluation processes.
- Paniamor Foundation
- Computer Club House Network
- Boston Museum of Science
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- Editus Music Academy.
- Children’s Smile Association (ASONI).
- WEM Institute.
The drug trafficking and retaliation network fought against the president of the Comprehensive Development Association IMAS 25 de Julio to force their resignation and leave the neighbourhood, as it instilled fear in the project’s users and advocates. As a result, vandalism and equipment theft on the site increased, and the drug network began to charge “tolls” for visitors from other communities.
In 2013, the institution’s political instability that affected the program’s budget, and left the project unfunded for 2014. Since then, it has remained suspended.
- The number of active members has increased. Better participation in the CHSJS areas of influence, helped to establish a social fabric that is a safe space for everyone.
- Recognized as a safe space for integral development.
- Methodology and relevant, e¦ective approaches for helping people develop technological skills; the development of a sense of community; empowering people to plan and achieve their goals; and creating a better quality of life.
- Parents satisfied by their children’s experience: significant improvements in formal academics and the development of personal and social skills.
- Expanded the involvement of new partnerships. Incorporation of institutional partners such as public schools and health area. CHSJS’s participation as a key partner at the Health Fair.
- Improved internal management of the CHSJS. Specific actions aimed at conflict resolution, dating, and interpersonal relationships. Internal regulations were created to improve work at the CHSJS.
- Adolescent participation was increased in CHSJS decision-making.
- Improved the technological capabilities of adolescents
- Affirmative action around the actual participation of adolescent women
- Expanded the capabilities of CHSJS sta¦ for specific actions with male adolescents The National Youth Centre educated people on issues related to masculinity.
- CHSJS was established as a safe and local benchmark space for teen participation.
- This strengthened the output profile of those who participate at the Club House.
Organizing a weekly "girls' day" to involve a greater number of women in the Club's activities, promoting innovative training strategies, and enabling reflections on gender identity.
4.1. Direct impact
The most important impact this project has had is on the people who joined the CHSJ in 2006.
A large number of the program’s alumni work in the fields of art, design, mathematics, computer science, or education. Whether personally or professionally, they continue to use the technological tools they received at the Club House.
Each of the four strategic lines of action led to concrete results, which have guided the CHSJS in planning its activities. The information is compiled into a table that contains:
- Expected results from each line of action, according to the planning process.
- Scope: Description of the programs hosted by the Club House, according to the agreement between PANIAMOR and the Municipality.
- Scope assessment: Assessment of the performance results, identifying facilitating or hindering factors.
- Means of verification: Description of initiatives, or evidence showing the scope achieved.
Additionally, the Intel Club House Network uses assessments for performance and impact.
4.3. Key factors
- Strategic alliances for success
- Monitoring the Paniamor Foundation
- People involved in implementation and daily work
- The community really desires these kinds of programs
- Programs that are adjusted annually to meet the needs of the community
- International monitoring to maintain international standards
The program ended in 2014. However, in 2018, the Development Association 25 de Julio and the Paniamor Foundation developed an innovative new model, proposing that those who were once students would now be mentors. Currently, the property where the Club House operates is awaiting minor repairs.
An alliance with the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications will allow INNOVATORIO 25 de Julio to be part of the 2015-2021 National Telecommunications Development Plan and the Bicentennial Digital Transformation Strategy 4.0.
This innovative approach will function within the Library Network of the Department of Cultural Services.
5. Further information
San Jose was a candidate for the fourth UCLG Mexico City – Culture 21 International Award (November 2019 – May 2020). The jury for the award drew up its final report in June of 2020, and requested that the UCLG Committee on Culture promote this project as one of the good practices implemented under Agenda 21 for culture.
This article was written by Marco Vinicio Corrales Xatruch, Service Provision Manager, San José, Costa Rica.
Contact: mcorralezx (at) msj.go.cr