Evaluation of Various Components of the Kuatiañe’ê Project
|Published:||2011 by Pym – The Pentecostal foreign mission of Norway|
|Commissioned by:||Pym – The Pentecostal foreign mission of Norway|
|Carried out by:||Dr. María Eva Mansfeld de Agüero, Dr. María Elvira Martínez de Campos|
|Tags:||Paraguay, Education and research|
In the last thirty years, Guaraní-speaking peoples have been obliged to undergo a rapid process of confrontation with other cultures that surround their habitat and their forests. Inter-ethnic friction has generated and is generating a new model for Guaraní life that is both in continuity with tradition and at the same time is adapting to the new situation, in order to survive while reclaiming native identity.
The fundamental purpose of the Kuatiañe’ê Project is to conserve the “word” of the Ava-Guaraní, Mbya Guaraní, and Ache. This is a significant effort that has aroused the interest and applause not only of the affected peoples, but also of all anthropologists and indigenists [working in this field]. The essence and identity of a people is transmitted through the word, via communication that originally was only spoken, and now is written as well.
The Project’s work of recording and compiling the oral culture of the above-mentioned cultures, and posterior use of this material in didactic texts that including reading and exercise books for students and teaching guides for teachers, has parallels and precedents among other ethnic groups of the Chaco that pertain to a variety of linguistic families. Other institutions have carried out similar work with highly satisfactory results to conserve indigenous peoples’ living memory of the past. We [the consultants] make this observation in order to highlight the importance of the task carried out by the Project, whose patient efforts to record and compile biographies, stories, myths, and tales of living in the bush are reflected in the books. This wisdom, when made accessible to everyone, becomes an axis of force to rally peoples together, to strengthen their ethnic identity, to lift their collective self-esteem, and to perfect instruments of dialog to be used with (numerically) majority groups; at the same time, these materials serve the didactic purpose of motivating reading and the ability to write.
Mid term external evaluation, seeking to understand and appraise the work the KUATIAÑE’Ë PROJECT has proposed—giving to Guaraní-speaking indigenous groups the possibility of rescuing and preserving written documentation of their rich oral culture.
a. Work meeting with General Coordinator of the Kuatiañe’ë Project, Prof. Dr. Almidio Aquino, ( 07 -07-2011)
b. Developing evaluation design with the Kuatiañe’ê Project.
c. Selecting criteria and designing templates and questionnaires:
- for the survey to be implemented by local researchers
- for the technical evaluation of the books.
- for the evaluation of scholarship recipients.
d. Planning all the activities related to carrying out the workshop to train the local researchers. Meeting held 05-08- 2011.
a. Workshop to train local researchers: September 6 for Ava researchers; September 9 for Ache and Mbya researchers.
b. Interviews with Kuatiañe’ê Project scholarship recipients and application of survey, September 16. On the same day a workshop was held for additional Mbya researchers.
c. Technical evaluation of the books, using the previously prepared template.
d. Survey to evaluate Kuatiañe’ê Project carried out in communities affected by the project.
e. Visit to the communities to accompany and oversee the application of the survey by the researchers. The following workshops were given:
- community of Chupa Pou, September 22.
- community of Fortuna (Curuguaty), September 23.
- community of Jaguary (Caaguasu ), September 24.
f. Tabulating results.
Key findings and recommendations:
First, it should be stressed that the techniques used by the project to collect materials have been adapted to generally accepted norms in the field of Anthropology for this type of work. One can appreciate that these techniques have been very respectful of the people, their situations and their wishes.
Statistical data obtained from the survey conclusively show that the project’s endeavors fully satisfy the groups involved: teachers, students and the community in general.
Tables show that levels of acceptance and appreciation of the Kuatiañe'ê project are really very high, and they demonstrate stakeholders’ deep interest in the project.
The materials are seen as an instrument of education and enculturation, especially for young people who, for various reasons, look "out," i.e. take interest in the cultures and lifestyles of neighboring towns and cities. Both the elderly and the wise firmly believe that the young people should remain faithful to their history and cultural practices.
Most respondents value the fact that the books recover and protect their culture, which will thus reach future generations.
Scholars unanimously express their appreciation of the Kuatiañe'ê project for its invaluable assistance in the form of scholarships to study at university and earn a professional degree. Similarly, they unanimously ask the project for special attention to their low Spanish language proficiency.
Teachers express satisfaction with the teachers’ manuals that accompany student texts, because they help better to plan their classes.
Similarly, teachers express their appreciation of the teaching workshops conducted by the project. They repeatedly requested that the workshops continue to be given in their respective communities.
The local interviewers’ work was highly successful. In their opinion, this is because they were very well oriented in the workshops for interviewers.
Recognizing of the value of the Kuatiañe'ê project’s work, most ask that it include the other indigenous peoples living in the country.
This consultancy report concludes stating:
- That the evaluation reveals a high degree of acceptance and appreciation of the Kuatiañe'ê project’s work.
-That the different Ava Guarani, Ache and Mbya communities and settlements view the collection of their culture in books as something very positive, because they understand that it will help protect their culture and draw young people and children to their people, who are besieged by acculturation and at risk of leaving their culture forgotten.
-That the Ava Guarani, Ache and Mbya respondents have expectations regarding the Kuatiañe'ê project’s future work. They hope that it will continue to work closely with them to increase knowledge about and appreciation of their culture, and they want the work to reach other communities and peoples.
More detailed recommendations on how to improve each of the evaluated components are presented on pages 12 – 140.
Comments from the organisation, if any:
Shortly after the evaluation report was finalized, the project arranged for a seminar where this was presented by the evaluation team for relevant stakeholders: Partner representatives, the project committee, project staff, representatives from the target group and Pym representatives. The project and Pym was also able to have an additional meeting to go through and discuss the report together with the consultants. Some minor errors and misunderstandings in the report were clarified.
Findings and recommendations have been taken into consideration when preparing for the continuous work and improving the products from 2012, and is used as a strategic reference point when informing about the ongoing work.
The evaluation gives a detailed and very specific analysis of the project components evaluated, and is in a technical manner highly relevant for further improvement. Some aspects that could have been analyzed even further, though, and which are very relevant in such kind of projects, are possibilities for and how to plan towards a smooth handing over process when external funding phases out. This was discussed orally, and per today the all in all positive conclusions from this evaluation is referred to when working with official institutions on a strategic level.