Thursday, August 13, 2015

Proyecto EduCán

The Project
The city of Tijuana is rapidly expanding east, and so are the animals. Although Spay/Neuter Clinics held at the HSTJ Center have been successful, there are other, more impoverished areas with a great need. Thus, we needed a new way to access appropriate facilities in these areas and set up our mobile clinics.
In May 2015 a new project was set in motion. It incorporated several of our independent programs into one step-by-step project, allowing us to concentrate our resources and efforts into one area of Tijuana at a time. Initially it was a pilot program, but it soon showed promising results.

Problem of Community Unawareness
Most Tijuana residents care deeply for their pets, yet are unaware of some of the most basic knowledge on animal needs, care and treatments. Although many have access to free or low cost spay/neuter in Tijuana, very few know of the benefits it provides.
Realistically, it could take years before local government establishes programs such as these at a larger scale, however, we can do something about this right now.
In our almost ten years of experience, time and again we have seen that our direct participation in specific colonias has resulted in an overall change of attitude towards animal care by the majority of its residents.
Because of the length of time it takes to hone in on just one area, we made contact with the Department of Social and Familiar Development (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, DIF) and began working with coordinators overseeing six communities in eastern Tijuana. We quickly discovered specific communities that, according to DIF, were in greatest need of this program.

Solution to the Problem
The EduCan Project was designed to achieve these main objectives:
*Engaging and educating through direct contact.
*Treating as many animals as possible at Itchy-Scratchy clinics (parasites, mange, fleas, ticks, etc.).
*Objectively assessing the need for a S/N clinic and comparing that with local interest.
*Finding new and appropriate locations to hold S/N clinics.
*Creating new and exciting opportunities for volunteers to help.

The program includes five different events:

1. Working with local schoolchildren and getting to know the area.
  • Hands-on activities are taken from the WSPA Guidebook.
  • Children take home a calendar of HSTJ activities soon to take place in their area.
  • Initial scouting for an appropriate S/N facility.
2.  Having a series of two educative workshops geared towards adults and teens.

  • First session titled: Fleas and Ticks – what you can do to fight them
  • Second session titled: Caring for your pets – myths vs. realities
  • Both include educational material from the WSPA conference that HSTJ hosted.
  • Both include a slideshow (PowerPoint presentation) that complements the workshop
  • All sessions are highly interactive and include at least one demonstration.
  • A flyer with the dates and locations of local HSTJ activities is given to each person or family that attends.

3. One or more Itchy-Scratchy clinics are held at appropriate locations within that community.
  • This is an educational and hands-on activity for local families, as they will be asked to assist.
  • A brief explanation of animal care/health can be given to any who were not able to attend the workshops; any questions will be answered.
  • Everyone who brings their pets will be asked to fill out a very short survey to help us assess their needs and what resources are already available to them locally.
  • Ideally, these I.S. clinics will all be held at a time most convenient to local residents and volunteers will be encouraged to come down and participate in this one of a kind experience. If necessary, transportation can be arranged.
  • This event will also serve to verify the conditions of the facility provided and ensure that it is actually suitable for a possible S/N clinic.
4. A Spay/Neuter clinic is scheduled and held for people who reside in the surrounding areas.
  • It is possible that not all colonias will qualify for one of these events, and that will depend on the people’s interest and cooperation, available facilities, and the overall need of that area, among other things. All factors will be considered, as this will not be an arbitrary decision.
Since May 2015 six colonias have been targeted, one at a time. According to the DIF institution, they are all categorized as “low-income communities” and are located on the outskirts of Tijuana. 

Click to enlarge
This is the calendar of events.
Please consider volunteering. 
(To do so, contact our Project Coordinator directly).

The cluster of communities that benefit are:
1.     La Morita
2.     El Pipila
3.     Mariano Matamoros Centro
4.     Mariano Matamoros Sur
5.     Altiplano
6.     Maclovio Rojas
[See Map]

Our funds are limited, so as always, and in order to reduce the cost of operation, we have found ways to implement this project while staying inside our yearly budget.

In conclusion, we believe that people will continue to benefit from the knowledge they receive long after we have passed through. There is obviously a limit to what our organization can do for the people and animals of Tijuana and at times it may seem like a daunting enterprise, but it is good to remember that the greater benefits are not always visible to the naked eye.

The first presentation opens with this statement: Ignorance is our worst enemy, but knowledge is our best ally because it enables us to protect our families and our pets. We know there are many out there who try exhaustively to care for their animals as best they can, and we do our utmost to help them.