Beyond the Horizon and New Horizons are U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, joint foreign military humanitarian and civic assistance exercises. During these exercises, U.S. troops work with a number of governmental, non-governmental, and private sector organizations to train in civil-military operations skill sets while providing medical and dental care and engineering support to local populations. The exercises are planned and coordinated closely with multiple agencies and host nation governments to creatively address the level and scope of medical care and engineering assistance required. From April through June 2014, U.S. military personnel will be in Belize, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic to conduct the New Horizons & Beyond the Horizon humanitarian and civic assistance exercises.
A U.S. Marine distributes donated school supplies to children in Suriname during a New Horizons humanitarian exercise in 2011. The school supplies donation was the result of cooperation between U.S Southern Command and various private organizations.
Seeking Whole-of-Society Humanitarian Solutions
SOUTHCOM Public Private Cooperation Office collaborates with NGOs, the private sector, and academia to extend the reach, efficiency, effectiveness and/or sustainable impact of SOUTHCOM activities. If you are interested in finding out more about these projects or any of the other Humanitarian Assistance projects U.S. Southern Command has planned, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education and Health
Construction of ten new classrooms and an addition to the Western Regional Hospital in the capital city of Belmopan are planned for 2014. Easing overcrowding and the opportunity to expand the school’s curriculum are two of the driving forces behind these projects.
At the Hattieville Government School, pre-school and kindergarten enrollment has increased and it has significantly impacted the capacity of the school to the point that the teacher’s quarters have to be used as schoolrooms. This school is scheduled to receive two classrooms.
In Belize City, the Edward P. Yorke School also suffers from overcrowding. When the school first opened in 1969, it started out as a pre-vocational technical school that would help the financially disadvantaged through vocational education. As Belize City continued to grow, so did the school’s enrollment; this school plans to receive two new classrooms to accommodate the students. The Sadie Vernon High School and the Stella Maris Primary School in Belize City are also scheduled to receive three new classrooms each to support a curriculum designed to prepare students with marketable skills for work in academic, vocational, and technical areas. Finally for Belize, the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan is scheduled to receive a new acute mental health unit. This new facility will allow the Ministry of Health to effectively treat acute mental health patients with the end goal of rehabilitation and reintegration as productive members of the community.
A school project includes the construction of three new classrooms for Colonia Municipal Los Limones in Zacapa, where overcrowding has forced the teachers to hold classes outside.
Also in Zacapa, the Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta Colonia Conavisa is scheduled to receive two new classrooms. In addition, the only clinic in the area, Central Puesto De Salud (Las Carretas Gualan), will benefit from the planned addition of a new two-room clinic.
Finally for Guatemala, the Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta El Roble Conacaste in Chiquimula is programmed to receive a new two-room school building and the construction of a five stall latrine.
All five planned engineering projects (two schools and three clinics) are located in the southern province of Barahona. Faced with overcrowding, the Felix Feliz School currently serves 430 students and the Feliz Matos School serves 290 students. Each school is scheduled to receive two new classrooms.
Also, cnce completed, the Clinic Invicea Villa will serve 1,600 families who currently do not have access to an adequate medical care facility. Finally, in the Dominican Republic, the Clinic Vicente Noble and Clinic Palo Alto are programmed to each receive a new two room clinic facility and two stall latrine. As with all Beyond the Horizon & New Horizons engineering projects, each new facility is built to also serve as hurricane shelters for the local communities.
Providing Supplies and Equipment
Though the planned engineering projects alone will provide tangible benefits, the facilities are only part of the need. The Beyond the Horizon & New Horizons planning teams, working with the Ministries of Education and Health in each partner nation, as well as the school principals and hospital administrators, have identified essential supplies and equipment necessary to fulfill the educational and clinical needs for the new and renovated facilities.
Using a “whole-of-society” approach, SOUTHCOM often collaborates with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private businesses to help our partner nations address the needs of schools and clinics built by the Department of Defense. Those needs typically include items such as school desks, school supplies, medical equipment, and medication. Additionally, local NGOs and businesses are a key factor in the long term success and sustainment of these projects. By providing follow-on formulary and supplies, assistance with maintenance and upkeep of the facilities, and training of personnel, the private sector ensures that these facilities will have a positive impact on the local community for years to come.
While the Beyond the Horizon and New Horizons planning teams may be able to provide a small portion of the required items through the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, the partner nation officials are faced with the challenge of obtaining the rest of the items from other sources.
For the school projects, such items needed may include: school desks and chairs for pre-school/kindergarten and primary school aged students, teacher desks/chairs, bookshelves, chalkboards, computers, basic school supplies (pens, paper, rulers, scissors), sewing machines, woodworking equipment, a stove, kitchen utensils, math and reading books, sports equipment (jump ropes, volleyballs, baseballs, soccer balls), and first aid kits.
The clinics needs include hospital beds, privacy screens, drug cabinets, chairs, stretchers, stethoscopes, thermometers, oxygen cylinders, and an assortment of surgical equipment. The partner nation Ministries of Education and Health need these items by April 2014 to be placed in the new schoolrooms and clinics upon their completion. These partnerships and newly constructed facilities will impact and enhance the lives of the families and children of the communities for many years to come.