Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 7044

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Water, the New Petrol
Category: 7. Health and the Environment

School: CEP Santa Rosa // IES Manacor
    Sullana // Manacor, Piura // Balearic Islands, Peru // Spain

4 students, ages 14, 17, 16, 16 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 16, 2012. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2012

Classes and Teachers: Jonathan Salazar Aguilar, Emma Saura Woods, José Carlos, Fabricio, Mercè, Petra

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

We are the ‘Water, the New Petrol’ team. Our names are Carlos and Fabricio from Peru, and Mercè and Petra, from Spain. We got together thanks to our two Coaches, Jonathan Salazar (Peru) and Emma Saura (Spain). We have worked mainly through Facebook, where we have been interacting every day over the past months. We knew from the beginning that the topic we wanted to work on was Health and Environment, and after some reading and interviews, we decided to focus on water shortage: it was clear to us that it was one of the great issues in today’s world. It was easy to divide the tasks: Carlos is into web design; Petra, Mercè and Fabricio are great with research and writing. We needed help from our coaches in some aspects of programming and translating (as the page was initially done in Spanish).

At one point we seemed to be stuck, but we didn’t give up: we kept going thanks to the help of our teachers, who guided us along the way. We’re working as hard as we can, with absolute dedication, so as to be able to reach our goal: raise awareness. We haven’t had time to finish programming the Website in both languages, but in the future we hope to launch the bilingual version (even trilingual, as we are thinking of translating it into Catalan, too).

Distance is not an issue, even though we live on two different continents, we know that as long as we work together for the same cause, we can achieve great things.

Our efforts will have been worth it, whether we win or we don’t, as we know that this project will be very useful to a lot of people. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

More on:

2. Summary of Our Project

In the world that we live in, water is an essential and valuable resource that is not distributed equally. In many developed countries we are not aware of how lucky we are to have a resource that is unattainable for so many people. The countries that have the least resources are usually the countries that have the least amount of water. Throughout history, great civilizations (like the Mesopotamians) always grew out of areas where there was access to water. Now we live in an overpopulated world (at the end of October we reached seven billion people). It is a paradox that in such a globalized world, we still find isolated areas, where people have to walk for miles to get drinkable water. With our project we would like to offer an overall picture of the current state of water issues in the world, and the problems related to it (pollution, shortage…). Our aim is to raise awareness; we would like to reach as many people as possible. This way, together, we can all contribute our small bit, and save every drop of water we can for all.

We think that people talking to people is the way to make people comprehend the depth of any given problem. We see things on TV every day, and we seem to have become immune. This project has been an eye opener for us, and we would like to reach as many people as possible, aiming to achieve a real understanding of this worldwide problem. We are not all lucky enough to have one of our most basic needs covered: we don’t all have access to water. So, isn’t it only fair that we should all reach out and give a hand? And that starts by knowing about the problem.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:not sure

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

We are from two high schools (CEP Santa Rosa and IES Manacor) The answers above are for CEP Santa Rosa, Sullana, Piura (Perú)

The answers for IES Manacor, Manacor, Mallorca, Balearic Islands (Spain) are the following:

A) More than 50 % B) 1 C) Not sure D) 1

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Problems? Where do we begin! We had all sorts of problems. But overcoming them is what made the team stronger.

On the technical side, we had to study and learn CSS and XHTML as well as jQuery, so we could create what we wanted and adapt some applications for the Internet. We’ve really learnt a lot about web design and programming, balancing information analysis and design. We kept running into problems with an options menu and our header, as it kept showing up behind it, making it impossible to view the options. We had to think creatively, solving the problem with a new design, adapted to the header.

Neither side of the team (Peruvian or Spanish) has been able to use a proper video recorder: we only had point & shoot cameras, so the quality of the videos isn’t the best. Also, there was a learning curve in the use of the software and techniques to create the videos.

As to the teamwork: 1. The time zone difference has made us work all hours, which has been extremely tiring. 2. The school holidays interrupted the work of the Peruvian side of the team: At first the holidays were very tempting, but we kept going! 3. School work sometimes made it difficult to find time for the project, but we all did, even though it meant working extra hard, especially with the learning curve and time zone differences. 4. The fact that we were all so far away and couldn’t meet up in person as a team made us lose our motivation at times: At one point, we even thought of giving up! 5. Both Carlos’ and Fabricio’s grandmothers died while we were working on the project, and both coaches were ill at different times. Even so, we kept going!

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our project has brought us closer to the world and other people’s reality, teaching us to better understand and communicate with others.

6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Though the project itself was not based on a specific curriculum guideline or requirement, it complemented and expanded upon the existing curriculum and added or developed a number of skills that are either required as part of their schoolwork or that heavily complement and expand the student´s knowledge, growth, and overall development. This included working in multiple languages, concurrently reading, writing and translating, computer literacy (beyond most any curriculum), information gathering, preparation and delivery both in writing and orally, world affairs, geography, and the sciences.

The skillset needed for this project was broad, covering a number of areas that the students were not versed in, including team collaboration and development, working in a virtual space with people they´d never met by utilizing the latest technologies for video conferencing and social networking. It was a learning experience for the entire team, and one that helped everyone learn group collaboration, development, and cultural understanding, as team members were physically in different parts of the world. This was a fantastic experience for all involved and helped to expand everyone´s horizons as each team collaborated with an entirely different community, culturally and in terms of our subject matter of water shortage.

Both educational systems were found to be adequate as to the requirements demanded upon team members and their capacity to adapt and learn the necessary skillset, but limited in resources, especially on the Spanish side, forcing the students to often scrounge for the needed materials or knowledge. The teacher´s role becomes extremely important in this as both support and a liaison with the community, but also, that of the Internet as a learning resource, universal knowledge pool, and communication tool. The latter has allowed a level of collaboration and learning beyond anything that any team member had experienced in the past.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?

As a project developed between two countries, in two different continents, we were extremely dependent upon technology, starting with something as basic as communication, for which tools such as Facebook and Skype video conferencing software were invaluable. The team could not rely on the slow and inefficient computers at their schools and had to use their own personal or borrowed computers to do the heavy lifting, mainly two Windows PCs, one with Windows 7 and another with XP, and an Apple MacBook with OS X Lion, amongst others. Point and shoot cameras and scanners (one for Peru and one for Spain) were used for the photos and videos, and to scan the drawings. Apple iMovie and Sony Vegas Pro were used for video editing and Adobe Photoshop and Apple iPhoto for the images. We used web technologies like XHTML, CSS, and jQuery for which Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 allowed us to accelerate both the learning process as well as development with WinSCP as our ftp client. With so much content to research, transcribe, translate and process, we relied on Microsoft Word and Open Office as well as Google Chrome and Apple Safari web browsers for information gathering, processing, and web testing. Other software used: Adobe After Effects and Reader aTube Catcher Google Earth (for geographic knowledge and reference) Microsoft PowerPoint and Windows Media Player Sound Booth SWiSH Max 4 Books and magazines: all virtual, specified in the bibliography.

Oral interviews: •Dr.Elizabeth Hodson de Jaramillo, bacteriologist at the Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) •Mr. Francisco Calderón Córdova, photographer and specialist in environmental issues on the radio, TV and on the Internet (Mexico) •Jorge Juan José Novoa Cova, naturalistic researcher •Mr. Pedro Bermejo Tocto, environmental communicator •Mrs. Joana María Vaquer is a Health Inspector for the Department of Health of the Balearic Islands Autonomic Government

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.

From the beginning, our team members have acted as ambassadors. We immediately created a blog where we posted news and information about the project, interviews we completed, and progress reports. We thought that would be a good way to raise awareness from the get go, and gave us something to show people when we approached them with our questions and other issues related to the project, as early in the process we had to convince them that we were serious, especially the environmental specialists we were contacting through the Internet to interview.

We managed to interview specialists in Peru and Spain, and one in Mexico through Skype. We also contacted radio stations in Peru, Mexico and Spain, which was a great way to tell people about our project and interact directly with the community.

We used a private group on Facebook as our virtual workspace, since each half of the team was in a different part of the world, and in February, we created a public page and made ourselves known to the worldwide Facebook community, involving as many people as possible, using all our contacts, as well as any new people that could bring something to the project.

We created our own images, adding to those we found on the Internet, and Chilean illustrator, Cristian Docolomansky, impressed with our project, created an image, especially for us to use, posting it on his own website and mentioning our project. This provided an additional boost in both dissemination and credibility. We also achieved one of our proudest moments when we had Quest Overseas volunteers in Africa collaborating with our project, sharing their own personal experiences. Our Spanish-Peruvian team was suddenly interacting with people from all over the world, but this is only the beginning, as our project continues to grow.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

From the beginning we have tried to reach as many people as possible. Our project has already made a difference in our own schools, as the activities we’ve organized to present our project and raise awareness have impacted our school curriculums and our project become a reference. For example, at IES Manacor (Spain), the Natural Sciences teacher would like to integrate our website into next year’s lessons, since water shortage is part of the Natural Sciences curriculum. The school is interested in our translating the project into Catalan and Spanish, which we plan to do. This would allow further access of our message to communities throughout the Catalan speaking regions of Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands as well as the rest of Spain and Spanish speaking countries and communities throughout the world. At CEP Santa Rosa (Peru), we managed to get the whole school together for the 1st Conference on Water and Conservation, which we hope to now include as a yearly activity. Being a private school, the activity was subsidized, but due to Spain’s financial crisis, our attempts to emulate the conference at the IES Manacor (Spain) were unsuccessful due to a lack of state resources to pay for such an event. Still, through our efforts and the project resources we’ve posted, we have been able to reach members of the Manacor community and begin a conversation on water shortage and quality that didn’t even exist. Through our collaboration between two countries in two continents, and through the support of our project by organizations like Quest Overseas, we’re not only raising awareness of the importance of water, but also educating others as to different communities and cultures throughout the world.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

We’ve been very thankful to have such a large number of people offering us support through the entire process of this project, getting involved in helping us with the material, reaching specialists, contacts, creating material especially for us, interviews, chats, the water shortage painting day, etc. Other school projects have involved us in collaborations that have also been fruitful for this project, as through those contacts we were able to get more exposure through radio stations and other community efforts. We’re very thankful we were able to reach the people at Quest Overseas who have been extremely helpful and willing to aid in anything they could. We are especially thankful for the patience and support of our families and friends. We’ve had to spend a lot time on this project, including weekends and holidays, when we had more time to dedicate ourselves completely to the task at hand, and they’ve offered us their help, their support and their love.

Jonathan, the Peruvian coach, has been instrumental with the technological side of things, as he is an IT teacher. As everything was initially done in Spanish and some Catalan, we had to rely on Emma, the Spanish coach, to help with the translation. Emma’s husband, who’s American, also gave a helping hand, revising some parts of the translation and offering as much support as he could with video problems on the Spanish end. Most people around us have been very enthusiastic with the project, and we have an enormous list of people we would like to thank. We mention them all on our blog, and our project.

We hope we don’t forget anybody, and would humbly like to thank everyone involved for all their help and support in this project, which we consider one of great importance to our global community.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

From the beginning we knew that this would be an important project. It was our goal to do something relevant and tackle a subject matter that was important to us and to our communities, but we never thought it would command such an outpouring of support, interest, and inquiry. We went from having to show people that our project was a serious one, to having people contacting us from throughout the world. Although our coaches encouraged us from the beginning, none of us could’ve foreseen that the people we contacted would be so willing to give us interviews, chat with us online, send us their stories, create things for us, etc. We’re just simple students.

There were, of course, hiccups along the way, but we found that where we might be lacking, there was someone to lead us to the knowledge or resource we needed. Our coaches created an environment of support and encouragement that led into a network of people offering their resources to our project. Quest Overseas and their volunteers completely surprised us with their willingness to share their stories and their efforts with our project.

Overall, we learned that there are a lot of people willing to make an effort for others, especially when it’s something important for the well being of so many, when there’s so much at stake, that there’s people willing to make great sacrifices for the good of mankind, and for a project, even one made by students, that hopes to raise awareness about such an important resource as water.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 7044)

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