Envisioning La Conde: Empowering Communities Through Technology and Emergency Plans

Project Sponsor: Las Parceleras Afrocaribeñas – La Conde

Team Members: Pooja Kawatkar, Nicole Morris, Melissa Perry, and Jonah Potter

Project Advisors: Dr. Grant Burrier and Dr. Scott Jiusto

Project Files:



The goal of this project was to empower the La Conde community in Carolina, Puerto Rico, by enhancing organizational systems through information technology. Partnering with Las Parceleras Afrocaribeñas, a non-profit organization, we improved their data systems for the La Conde Project, a grassroots initiative that is transforming an abandoned school into a thriving community center. Our collaboration led to the development of four tailored products: a digital inventory system for the community kitchen, a participant management system, emergency escape route maps, and user manuals for system sustainability. These solutions significantly increased La Conde’s efficiency, enabling the community to manage resources, track participation, ensure safety, and sustain their initiatives.

 Figure A. A group photo of our team, advisors, and key members of the La Conde community. 

Executive Summary


The women of Parceleras Afrocaribeñas have many different things on their plate from running different programs to handling the paperwork or fixing daily issues around La Conde. The different aspects of our project work to alleviate this constant pressure. We provided multiple online tools that help to reduce the required man hours to manage all of the volunteers, participants, responses, and inventory. In addition to this we have created an emergency response system with the locations of exits as well as emergency resources to inform the community in La Conde how to respond. While we move towards this goal, we also want to establish a strong relationship with La Conde so that we can continue to enhance the organization’s continued partnership with the Puerto Rico Project Center.

Figure B. A mural painted outside one of the buildings named “The Energy Oasis” at La Conde. Every figure is of a community member who has positively impacted La Conde. 

Mission, Objectives, and Methods

Our project’s mission was to empower the La Conde community through technology by creating inventory and participation management systems to increase organizational efficiency and to design emergency plans to enable safety protocols.

We worked with La Conde to achieve the following objectives:

  • Enhance La Conde’s participant management system to improve efficiency and effectiveness when applying for funding
  • Design a digital inventory management system to improve record keeping and organization
  • Develop a manual so La Conde staff can learn to effectively use the systems 
  • Develop emergency escape routes of the property in case of emergencies
  • Provide support in their goal of reinstating the Carlos Conde Marín school as a pillar of the community

To achieve these objectives, we engaged in archival studies, interviews, and ethnographies. This approach provided us with valuable insights into the community’s unique needs and aspirations. We additionally implemented Google resources (e.g. Google Forms and Google Sheets) to organize the data systems because they are accessible, free, and well-suited for those new to technology. Regular visits to the site allowed us to strengthen our relationships with the community, immerse ourselves in its culture, observe participants, and collaborate with community leaders to develop tailored solutions.

By the end of the seven weeks, our team provided the La Conde organization with four major deliverables to digitize their overall organizational efficiency, strengthen emergency safety protocols, and alleviate the stress for the leaders.

Figure C: Google Form headers for the cooking and shopping form, donations form, registration form, and comments form.

The figure above highlights the headers for the four Google forms we created for La Conde. The list below details each completed deliverable.


  • Donations Form – The donations form is used when La Conde receives donations from other organizations or the government during emergency situations. It keeps track of the type of donation; like food, medical, or other, as well as the quantity of each supply.
  • Cooking and Shopping Form – The cooking and shopping form is used to add and subtract food quantities from the inventory list. When the user goes shopping or cooks a meal, they will enter the ingredients into the form to be reflected in the inventory sheet.
  • Inventory Sheet – The inventory sheet displays the current inventory of all the food in the kitchen, as well as other donated supplies and food. It displays where the food is stored and highlights red when an ingredient is reaching a low quantity, indicating which ingredients need to be bought on the text trip.

Participant Management

  • Participant Registration Form – The participant registration form is used to keep track of the community members who participate in an activity at La Conde. They sign in with their name and what activity they are participating in.
  • Participant Registration Sheet – The participant registration sheet displays the collected participant data and can be filtered by month, year, and activity in order to accurately show the impact La Conde’s workshops are having on the community and how many people participate.
  • Participant Comments Form – The participant comments form allows community members to give feedback on different workshops in order for La Conde to improve and encourage growth in their activities
  • Participant Comments Sheet – The participant comments sheet organized the form responses to show what percentage of people enjoy different workshops, as well as additional comments. This sheet can be filtered by month, year, and activity in order to track improvements or changes in participant satisfaction trends.

Figure D: The google sheet organizes the participants by year, month, and program selected. Data entries are automatically sent and organized from the google form “Hoja de Registro de Participantes”. 

IT Training

  • User Manual- The inventory system training manual teaches users how to use the inventory forms and addresses common problems or issues the user may run into.
  • Google Learning Tools – The Google learning tools document includes more basic Google suite training, including training programs from online resources and basic changes that can be made to the Google forms La Conde will be using.

Floor Plan

  • Material for Floor Plans – The Material for Floor Plans includes all individual floor layouts within the 11 buildings on the campus, as well as a bird’s eye view of the campus emergency escape routes. This provides blank canvases for future plans, as well as all current escape routes that community members can follow in case of an emergency.

Figure E: Emergency map of the entire campus created for La Conde in case of emergency evacuation.

During the creative process, we learned some key lessons about completing a project like this Interactive Qualifying Project. Every community has unique challenges, so we tailored our project to accommodate local language and cultural differences.


  • Digitizing records can assist with efficiency and time management for a community center with a few volunteers who find themselves very busy.
  • Creating user friendly forms make the process easier especially when working in multiple languages.
  • Having participants fill out the form right when they enter the activity can ease the load on volunteers.
  • The Spanish language barrier can be challenging, using helpful notes, pictures and diagrams to help with training can help with the process.
  • La Conde is home to an older community that is typically less comfortable with technology.
  • Finding the balance between a system that has a lot of features and is simplistic can be a difficult process.

With the majority of the community being elderly, our liaison emphasized that many members had limited technological experience; many are not familiar with digital tools, and some are unable to read or write. This limitation posed a significant barrier in designing the participant management and inventory systems, and we immediately knew it would be beneficial to use a user-friendly digital tool. Specifically, we used Google tools to organize the data systems because they are accessible, free, and ideal for tech beginners to learn. Our IT manual offers a clear, concise tutorial on how to use each deliverable, helping community members become more acquainted with each form and sheet we’ve created, and increasing their comfort with basic technology.

Figure F:  The participant form displayed on a tablet for simple use.

Our team hopes that our contributions will enable all volunteers at La Conde to be familiarized with Google tools, ensuring the sustainability of our deliverables and giving flexibility for improvement. This will empower anyone to make necessary adjustments to Google Forms, Google Sheets visualizations, floor plans, or emergency routes in the future. By educating volunteers in such versatile software, we aimed to boost the community’s self-confidence and motivation. Furthermore, we hope that our methods for organizing participant attendance and inventory systems, as well as creating campus floor layouts, can be replicated not only at Carlos Conde Marín School but also in other abandoned schools across Puerto Rico.

Recommendations and Reflections

Our project’s mission was to empower the La Conde community through technology by creating inventory and participation management systems to allow for organizational efficiency and to design emergency plans to enable safety protocols. With only seven weeks in Puerto Rico to complete our project, our team acknowledged we had limited time to conduct extensive interviews, analyze the data we observe, and ultimately complete our final deliverables by the end of April. To help with the sustainability of these deliverables, we recommend the following actions the organization should take. 

  • Have participants fill out digital forms as they enter workshops
  • Hold tech workshops to build confidence and familiarity among community
  • Ensure emergency routes are constantly up to date

Currently only the project leaders are familiar with how the participants’ attendance form operates. To enhance efficiency, it would be beneficial for them to implement a routine whereby participants fill out the form as soon as they arrive at a specific workshop. Community activities are currently held in three buildings, and we anticipate that renovations will extend to the rest of the buildings. Consequently, the floor layouts will change over time. For the safety of the community, it is crucial to ensure all emergency routes are up to date. 

Looking ahead to future collaborations with WPI PRPC and La Conde, it is important to consider additional ways to assist this organization. Our liaison has highlighted the challenges of organizing campus cleaning days, which require long hours and limited resources. Planning a large-scale cleaning event, promoted with brochures distributed to local communities and other nonprofits, could improve networking and attract more donations. Given the community’s limited tech exposure, our digital-focused deliverables could greatly benefit from complementing them with small technology workshops. These workshops would introduce community members to this digital world, build their confidence, and encourage further learning. We incorporated simple forms for participants to sign in with, utilizing emoticons and simple questions to provide the inexperienced community with simply incorporated technology to foster a familiarity with technology.

Figure G. Members of the community representing La Conde after attending a Community Assembly discussing a work plan for future projects. 

We are extremely fortunate to collaborate with such a welcoming community. This partnership offered a significant learning experience for our team, one that will be unforgettable. Working with the nonprofit Parceleras AfroCaribeñas was particularly rewarding; each visit to the site reinforced the positive impact of our efforts, alleviating some of the burdens faced by community leaders. Moreover, supporting a community that has experienced repeated marginalization instilled a deep sense of importance and pride in our work.

Ultimately, we hope that our methods for using simple technology to increase organizational efficiency, as well as strengthening emergency safety protocols, can be replicated not only at Carlos Conde Marín School but also in other abandoned schools across Puerto Rico.