Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cohort 12 in Pictures

The Zebras
Our project partners are the DCC (Department for Citizenship Culture) and the Zebras. The Zebras are Urban Educators whose aim is to teach about noise pollution, road safety, cultural citizenship and respect, among others. The Zebras project began over 13 years ago in La Paz, but you can now also find them in the streets Viacha, El Alto, Oruro, Guayaramerín, Sucre and Tarija, regulating traffic and spreading their values. Their animal costumes and playful nature help them especially to reach children, who the Zebras consider their closest allies in helping spread their messages.

Ciudadanos del mundo
Our team. Our work involves raising awareness about and lowering noise pollution levels in the city of La Paz, with the help of the DCC and the Zebras.

The Office (2 photos)
This is where everyone from all four ICS projects works, as well as where the other International Service projects are coordinated. It gets pretty busy at times. It’s the first floor.

The Teleférico
By far my favourite way of getting around La Paz is the Teleférico. It’s the highest cable car in the world and the views are amazing.

The views from the Teleférico 
La Paz is the highest major city in the world, as you can see from the mountainous landscape.

Workshops with Zebras
Part of our work has also involved delivering workshops for a small group of Zebras. So far our workshops have been on the topics of Citizenship Culture in the UK, Performance, Trust and Self-esteem, Music and Teamwork, and Cultural Exchange. The next workshop we have planned with them is on the subject of International Development.

Our Zebras
The group of Zebras we have been working with.

Zebra for a day
We were lucky enough to try our hand at being a Zebra for a day. This job is much harder than it looks. The first thing you notice is the lack of visibility. You have a tiny field of vision and it’s very difficult to move around without falling over or bumping into people and things. The next thing you notice is the heat. The sun quickly heats up your Zebra suit and with all the movement that the Zebras have to do you quickly overheat and become exhausted. However, you also quickly notice how fun and rewarding it is to be a Zebra. People smile at you, shake your hand and hug you, and even the drivers are mostly polite. And you learn to guide yourself by how often people smile at you, to know if you’re doing a good job.

Day of No Honk
For the International Day against Noise Pollution, on the 29 April, the DCC organised the “Day of No Honk”. This became a big event for us and we organised various activities to raise awareness about noise pollution. We set up our activities in the Plaza Camacho in central La Paz and spent all day getting passers-by to take part.

Promoting the Day of No Honk
In the run-up to our big event we went on the streets and asked people to write down their thoughts on noise pollution. We then took a photo of them holding their message and uploaded it to our Facebook page. The photo with the most likes won a prize, and this encouraged people to share their photos and promote our event. Message: Don’t make noise, for the good of humanity

Day of No Honk: Face painting
We did Zebra themed face painting to get people involved in the event.

Day of No Honk: Yoga and meditation
During the course of the day we carried out short yoga and meditation sessions which were very well received. The idea was to highlight the positive effect of silence and relaxation rather than the negatives of noise.

Day of No Honk: Sunflower values
This activity involved getting people to write down peaceful values on pieces of paper and decorate them. They then stuck their values to a plant pot and planted some sunflower seeds. They could then take their sunflower seed home and “grow” their positive value. In the photo some of the famous shoe-shiners of La Paz were getting their sunflowers.

Day of No Honk: Drivers’ and pedestrians’ opinions
This activity was about promoting understanding and respect between drivers and pedestrians. We asked people to write down messages directed to either drivers or pedestrians about how to reduce noise pollution.

Day of No Honk: Message to pedestrians
“Respecting traffic laws is avoiding honking. Be cautious.”

Day of No Honk: Message to drivers
“To drivers, I want to thank those that didn’t honk their horn today.”

Day of No Honk: Flash mob
We also organised a silent flash mob with our group of Zebras. Both Zebras and volunteers participated and some passers-by joined in too.

TV appearances
Various TV crews came to cover our story over the course of the day and our flash mob appeared on Bolivian TV. We were also interviewed on the Bolivian channel Unitel earlier that week, which helped us promote our event

Alalay workshops
The cohort before us had limited contact with our partner, the DCC for political reasons, but instead they worked a lot with two children’s centres in La Paz, called the Alalay and Arco Iris foundations. We have been lucky in that we have been able to work with the partner, but we still continued working with Alalay, giving two workshops to the children there, on the topics of Human Rights, and Non-violent communication.

Educational module for teachers
We have also adapted an educational module that the previous cohort designed for use in schools. Previous cohorts delivered this module to children with the help of some of the Zebras, however, we have delivered the module to teachers and provided them with the materials to deliver it to their classes.

The Devil’s tooth

At the weekends we’ve had the chance to explore the city and surroundings. After a short bus ride and a couple of hours walking you can reach this amazing view of the Devil’s tooth, a small peak in the outskirts of the city.

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