The intervention in the Guerrero “Coasts”

Left: brigadistas cross a stream to perform house-to-house visits in Guerrero’s Costa Grande. Right: brigadistas and community-members during a community cleaning session in the same region.

The Camino Verde intervention in Guerrero was different from that in Managua, since it goes beyond the urban environment of Acapulco and reaches suburban and rural areas of the Costa Grande and Costa Chica regions. This poses different challenges, and the responses generated are specific to the geographic, social and economic context of each site.

In the Coast communities, the intervention launch and consolidation took place much more quickly than in Acapulco. Improvements that took six months to accomplish in the city required half that time in Costa Grande and Costa Chica. This happened even in urban sites like Zihuatanejo, a focus centre for sustained regional development in tourism and related fields.

While facilitators were faced with major transportation difficulties in some Costa Grande and Costa Chica intervention communities, they had the benefit of a longer training period and the experience acquired by the Acapulco facilitators and brigadistas. This may be a partial explanation as to why Camino Verde required less time to gather momentum in other regions. Another contributing factor is that brigadistas from rural areas devote more time to the project and that users are generally more trusting of and open to them than in Acapulco. Usually, rural residents have a stronger sense of belonging to their communities than those in Acapulco’s urban environment, and local authorities are accepted by the population as a whole, which is not always the case with community leaders —often identified with political parties— in Acapulco.

In the rural setting, more communities use biological mechanisms to control mosquito breeding. In Acapulco, only small fish are used for this purpose, while residents in the rural clusters of the coasts  use a variety of fish, such as potete, popoyote (Chiapas killfish), tilapia and sea bream. They also use prawn, turtles and shrimp.

Another important difference is that, in the “Coasts”, more men are involved in dengue prevention and control activities, while in Acapulco brigadistas are almost all female. This is partly explained by men’s workday schedules in the urban setting.