The Frances and Henry Riecken Foundation, Inc.

We offer Central Americans hope and the opportunity to overcome poverty by promoting democracy and prosperity through community libraries that spark a spirit of discovery and foster citizen participation.
Aug 14, 2015

Women's Leadership Program in Guatemala

Artisans Women at Library
Artisans Women at Library

Partners in Women’s Leadership Program in Guatemala

The Riecken proposal is based on the idea that when women in rural communities strengthen their leadership skills and abilities, and are provided participation and entrepreneurship opportunities at the community level, there will be an increase in positive community development and improvement of quality of life in the communities.  Business projects that they generate will likely be more sustainable and have greater impact, both at the level of income-generation (business centers) and health (early stimulation and nutrition, etc.). BFB and Riecken Libraries support social entrepreneurs’ local initiatives (income generation, health promotion, literacy, advocacy, etc.) that promote the human, organizational, and social capabilities of rural women of Guatemala.

For combat the women social exclusion, Community Library K'ak' No'jib'al in Xolsacmaljá improve a Management Bussines Service to develop environmental projects focused on soil conservation and agricultura (organic compost and greenhouse) improving the self-employment of women in this community. Xolsacmaljá is a little village of Totonicapán (Guatemala), with an average of 1,500 of population. Most of the population (86%) talk in Kiche language and Spanish; it exists an average of 6 persons per family. Local economy is based in traditional crafts and agriculture. In Xolsacmaljá, 7 out of 10 people are poor: 73.29% population lives in poverty conditions, and of these, approximately 20.99 % in extreme poverty.  Community Library K'ak' No'jib'al serve approximately 858 highly engaged monthly, being more than 90% Kich’e Mayan People.

Business Center offers: # of users: 25 women trained directly and 53 women trained by Women of Business center (Mentoring)

Beneficiary’s profile: Local trade associations, Farmers Organic Producers

Type of activities: Consulting, training workshops, tracking orders, visits, participation in national and international handicraft fairs.

 

Links:

May 28, 2015

Economic Opportunities for women in Guatemala

Child User at Library (La Libertad, Guatemala)
Child User at Library (La Libertad, Guatemala)

Over than 15 million people in Guatemala, more than half (51,3%) are women, who represent 50,6% of rural population. According to Central Bank of Guatemala, 53.71% population lives in poverty conditions, and of these, approximately 13.33 % in extreme poverty. Poverty is a synonym of social exclusion (precarious access to health and education services, and overall development possibilities), and in rural areas, a gender divide: In Guatemala, poverty has a woman’s face.

Riecken Community Library Network in Guatemala, through their development and Management Business Services, promote the economic and social equity, especially of rural women. How does it do that?

o   Libraries promote women’s leadership to learn to organize themselves

o   Libraries train to women in use of internet and access information

o   Libraries promote social participation and community entrepreneurship of woman project.

 

All Riecken Community Libraries offer solutions to the community problems.

Based in data of National Statistical Institute[1], Young people of rural area access to a job before than urban area. In the Economically Active Population (PEA in Spanish), Rural male participation is double than Female (Male: 83.9, Female: 40.6). Almost half of rural homes depend of “Remesas” (migrants send money to their home); 80% of migrants are male son Females become heads of household but decisions depends of male because they provides to the Household Economy. This situation aggravates the relationship of dependency in the decision making process. Same statistical data of PEA, women is an unpaid family worker, so, they have not incomes or free time which they need to improve their studies.

Step by Step, Riecken Libraries in Guatemala are reducing women’s exclusion. We think  when women in rural communities strengthen their leadership skills and abilities, and are provided participation and entrepreneurship opportunities at the community level, there will be an increase in positive community development and improvement of quality of life in the communities.  When women learn to self-organize and work in a coordinated manner, they increase their community standing.   Business projects that they generate will likely be more sustainable and have greater impact, both at the level of income-generation (business centers) and health (early stimulation and nutrition, etc.).

So, Riecken Libraries are promoting the participation and leadership of rural women via community development projects (e.g., business development, political and social initiatives) in rural communities. Our activities addresses the woman in a threefold dimension:  as 1) individual, 2) as collective or organized social group, and 3) from their environment, strengthening the sense of belonging to a community. At the individual level, activities are visualized so that women can discover their inner abilities and strengths to help them confront their personal challenges through training in values, analysis, and self-reflection. As an organized social group, training will be oriented to strengthen their organizational and coordination skills, as well as teamwork, delving into values such as tolerance and respect. From the community dimension, the community library will be the institutional platform that accompanies the training process and supports women´s projects.  Its purpose is to promote values, aspirations, and skills for women leaders to develop and implement social changes.

 

The Riecken Foundation, operating as the Riecken Community Libraries, is a nonprofit organization that manages a network of community libraries that promote social participation and proactive citizenship.  Founded in 2000, Riecken’s community library model is entrenched in a philosophy that promotes access to essential knowledge, the development of critical thinking skills, and a commitment to lifelong learning and self-education. Each library is managed by volunteer community leaders.  The mission of the Riecken Community Libraries is to promote democracy and prosperity in Central America by awakening a spirit of discovery and social participation. 

 

[1] Tasa de participación: la Población Económicamente Activa (PEA) como proporción de la población en edad de trabajar (PET). (INE, ENEI 1-2013).

Women participants in a Training
Women participants in a Training

Links:

May 28, 2015

Guatemalan young women, one generation GPS

Domingo Garcia, Young participant in the Project
Domingo Garcia, Young participant in the Project

The United Nations says that the culture is an engine for development and generates further identity and individual and collective self-esteem, as well as the social cohesion and of inclusion, both individuals and groups belonging to each of the people and ethnics groups. As a consequence, Culture is one of the most effective mechanisms to help and combat the exclusion, violence, crime, racism, social inequality, poverty and the extreme poverty. The Riecken community libraries continue demonstrating that investing in Libraries is to invest in development. The proposal “Guatemalan young people, agents of social cohesion, submitted to the online competition promoted by Mi Sangre and NEXSO, has won the FRIST PRIZE. http://www.nexso.org/es-es/jovenescreativos2014

Since Riecken community libraries in Guatemala, Young people have taken a firm step to bring about a change in attitude toward their present and future; the communities can lead its development from its cultural essence, resources, tangible and intangible assets.

Young people, overall the women, learned to investigate, to analyze and to observe their surroundings using technology Global Geo; in short, they learned to visualize their culture from their own past. In a process of recovery of memory, grandparents and young people prioritized the most relevant stories and identified in each of the communities, taking into account aspects such as their importance in the community, information sources and time of existence in the community, among others.

Five Riecken community libraries in Guatemala are involving different sectors of communities in decision-making on what places mapping and the use are given maps produced.  The groups that have formed and trained for tours and recording points include children, youth and seniors; especially the seniors have been the essential historical source to identity potential routes of mapping.  So far, have been developed cultural, cadastral, agricultural and economic maps, that are supporting the work of municipalities, schools, forestry offices, artisan cooperatives and tours guides, and even neighboring communities have benefited from record boundaries.

The principal leading of the implementation process of social cartography are Riecken community libraries in Guatemala. “open to future Windows”(Chiché), “Rija’Tzuul Na’ooj” (San Juan la Laguna, Sololá), “My new world” (Huitán), “New Dawn” (Cabricán) and the Library Nojival” (Xolsacmaljá, Totonicapán). Community leaders’ board and librarians of these communities have led a training process that has involved 75 children aged between 10-14 years; most of the students are into 4th to 6th, on primary grade level. Training topics addressed were, among others, essential notions of mapping, characterization of coordinates and map projections, use of technology global geo (GPS) and spatial sampling, definition of Community routes and patterns of social research and effective use of applications such as Google Earth.

So far these actions are directly benefiting to about 30,112 persons from 5 rural communities in Guatemala and indirectly approximately 13,000 families.

The recognition by Fundation “Mi Sangre” and NEXSO, developing solutions to youth groups Riecken Community Libraries in Guatemala is an opportunity to further deepen in visualize the culture as an agent of change and development and especially in creating economic opportunities in rural communities in Guatemala.  

Despite its natural, cultural and development potential wealth, the general population and especially young people do not find economic opportunities so they are forced to leave their high school or away from their territories and communities in the search for a more positive horizon that allows them to develop as human beings with full rights.  Promoting entrepreneurial skills in young people to enable them to develop further their studies and develop economic activities in their communities no longer a major challenge: how to develop economic activity in collaboration with peoples to their worldview, traditional knowledge and skills are adequately integrated and look reinforced?;  How to develop an economic activity whose ultimate goal is not only increasing income but generates opportunities to strengthen the bond of young people to their community and identity and mitigate the impact of youth migration?. For these reasons and considering the successes achieved through technology and culture as a means of youth development, the prize money will focus on developing skills in young people through leadership Riecken community libraries.

Since the libraries, the development of technological, educational and learning spaces in entrepreneurialism to youth in the community skills will be promoted for Young people, students and library users to strengthen their personal values and collective leadership as an organized group, generate ideas entrepreneurship and its projection to the community.

Girls entering coordinanates in positioning device
Girls entering coordinanates in positioning device
Delivery guides at Huitan community
Delivery guides at Huitan community

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