Across Nicaragua, there are several communities that experience higher crime rates and lower education rates than the rest of the country. USAID’s Community Action for Reading and Security (CARS) program is an ongoing project that supports these communities by providing struggling primary school students with the resources they need to improve in school. Additionally, CARS promotes positive change in communities through contracting local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to implement community development projects.

Since 2013, DevTech has worked with USAID to design, develop, and manage the CARS project to improve the quality of education and improve citizen security in these at-risk Nicaraguan communities. In 2014, we conducted two baseline studies in these communities—one to determine language fluency and comprehension of primary school students, and one to determine community needs and risk factors such as improving education, reducing crime and drug use, and bettering general health, water quality, and sanitation. To measure the progress of the CARS project, we conducted a follow up study in 2015 and found that:

  • English comprehension of primary school students increased by 8% while Spanish comprehension increased by 48%. In addition, primary school enrollment increased from 88% in 2013 to 93% in 2015 and general educational advancement of students increased at a rate of 94%.

  • At the beginning of 2015, a total of 316 primary and secondary students recieved tutoring services because they were failing in one or more subjects. By the the second half of 2015, 74% of these students had improved their grades by an average of 7 points above the initial grade.

  • In one of the five communities in which CARS is focusing their efforts (Bluefields), there was an increase in Spanish fluency from 5.28%, 40.32% and 47.86% in 2014 to 50%, 57% and 67% in 2015 among first, second, and third graders respectively.

DevTech produced such strong results for the CARS project through the development of education materials for teachers in English, Miskitu, and Spanish, including teacher guides, student lesson books, and supplementary reading materials.

Around the world, DevTech promotes safe, inclusive, and effective learning environments by working with government leaders and international partners to broaden education and training opportunities for children, at-risk youth, and adults. We have designed and supported major education projects in areas such as Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Thus, when implementing the CARS project in Nicaragua, we employed our deep experience with large-scale educational and community development projects to ensure that the project rests upon a strong, research-based foundation and will continue to allow these at-risk areas to develop a safer and better educated community. To learn more about this project and DevTech’s capabilities, please visit the page for this project.