The construction of the first stage of the workshops has progressed significantly, having finished the walls for the first level of one of the buildings, now waiting for the next disbursement of funds to lay the ceiling and floor for the second story. The other building of the two already has 7 rows of blocks cemented. Up to this point, the transparency committee has received 6 disbursements of $5000 summing $30,000 of the $71,907.94 budgeted for the first phase or lower levels, meaning we have completed 42% of this phase.
The transparency committee meets every Friday to plan the work for the following week and to ensure success for the upcoming week. Each work group/commission is working on the specific role that corresponds with their responsibilities. Within the transparency committee they assume the role of supervision of the construction work on a weekly rotating basis, overseeing the work of the day laborers and ensuring that the committee is completing the weekly plans. Additionally the supervisor meets with the workers at the beginning of each work week to give a revision of the most relevant rules and regulations in order to avoid misunderstandings or problems.
They have done a rotation of workers from the communities of El Pital, Las Mangas and El Naranjo. One of the difficulties that they have had is that the representatives on the administration commission of the transparency committee do not live in El Pital, but rather live in Yaruca and Toncontin and it has been difficult to conduct urgent payments due to their distance from the construction site. Due to this situation, the transparency committee decided to make an internal change to the commissions and name Carmindo Banegas as a new member of the administration commission to ensure payments of whatever need nearby the construction site.
The “Transparency Corner” bulletin board has not been updated yet because there was a problem with the material to post the information and the papers kept falling down. The committee will be fixing this problem by the end of the month of September; however the committee has continued to share the reports with the local government groups in the various communities that are represented in the transparency committee. Other committee business this past quarter was that the committee with Minke’s approval, was able to improve the salary of the workers to help with the increase in the costs of living. We were able to negotiate a daily salary of L200 from L170, which was increased during the 5th disbursement.
This was actually not a real increase, since in other phases of the project the workers were paid L200, but by reducing the salary for the first four disbursements allowed us to reduce costs for this phase of the project. During the negotiations with Minke of the increase in the salary, they were willing to approve the increase as long as the committee sought out other ways to save money in other areas of the project so that the overall budget did not increase. As a result of this request, the committee requested the committee has sought out increased voluntary labor and materials from the community. Recently, they have had the help of volunteers from the churches in El PItal, volunteers from Las Mangas and the students of the high school.