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New Mexico State University

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New Mexico State Center for Intensive Training in English to assist border groups

New Mexico State University's Center for Intensive Training in English (CITE) will help two border community women's groups develop educational materials in English about environmentally conscious building projects.


he Women's Intercultural Center of Anthony, N.M., and El Centro Mujeres Tonantzin in Juarez, Mexico, have received a $12,000 grant from Border Partners in Action to develop construction projects and prepare English-language educational materials about them. English is a second language for most of the project participants.

"This is a chance for them to communicate in English about authentic experiences," said Judy Messal, a communication studies professor at New Mexico State.

The Women's Intercultural Center of Anthony plans to expand its facility with inexpensive, environmentally sound building materials. Committed to using recycled materials, the women are using tire-and-earth technique to build the walls. Through grant funding, they will draft a manuscript of a book and design education and training sessions on alternative building methods on both sides of the border.

El Centro Mujeres Tonantzin will expand its project to build ecological toilets that do not use water and are odor-free, and create audiovisual materials on proper usage. This is important in an area where running water is a luxury and most bathrooms are outhouses, Messal said.

CITE will support the distribution of construction information in English and Spanish. The center staff will use peer groups to review materials for organization, clarity and grammar. Those who will make educational presentations in English can attend workshops to improve their skills.

The center in Anthony, 303 Lincoln St., will host the first in a series of three open houses and concerts Sunday, Sept. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will include a demonstration of the tire-and-earth construction method and a concert by Claudette Schiratti, a Sister of Mercy of the Americas from Kansas City, Mo., and Nancy Green, a popular percussionist from El Paso.

Border PACT grants are funded by the Ford Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This year 21 awards were given for collaboration between organizations on both sides of the border.