Population Council

The Population Council is an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that seeks to improve the well-being and reproductive health of current and future generations around the world and to help achieve a humane, equitable, and sustainable balance between people and resources.
Nov 7, 2012

Program communities affected by today's earthquake

Dear friends,

This is a quick report to update you on the impact that today's earthquake had in our communities. The epicenter was close to the Western Highlands, where most of our communities are. We have managed to talk to several of the youth leaders who report damages to roads, landslides and at least one relative gravely injured.  Mentors traveling to supervise girl clubs returned home but one who was already in the community she had scheduled to visit went ahead and ran a focus group :-)  We love the spirit of our girl leaders and mentors!

This week's activities in Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and Sololá are temporarily cancelled until we are sure everyone is fine and can move around safely. We will send another update once we have news from every youth leader.

Best and thank you for your concern!

Alejandra

Oct 28, 2012

Productive Activities & the second annual Girl Effect Challenge

Girl Effect Challenge 2012, photo R. Krishnan
Girl Effect Challenge 2012, photo R. Krishnan

2013 is getting closer and in the Abriendo Oportunidades office we are starting to plan for next years events and activities; this includes what areas that should be focus on and in which communities continued support is most needed. One of the upcoming activities for next year is to engage the girls in minor production opportunities. More specifically, this would support the girls interests in making products e.g. handicrafts, local food and pastries - to strengthen their beliefs in what they can achieve and for some girls to earn their first own money. These opportunities also teach girls about health, nutrition, and economic independence. In September we were out in Sololá, Quezaltenango and Totonicapan visiting different communities to see how they were organised, what productive activities the girls want to initiate, and where it can be done without affecting school enrollment.

During this small investigation we also visited Los Tuices, a community in which the girls already initiated a productive activity, namely production of bracelets. The activity has gone very well and the girls were so proud of their achievements. A video was made and it will be showed to other communities as a source of inspiration. Many of the girls expressed higher levels of self-belief from participating in the project and being able to earn their own money.

On the 1st of November the second annual ‘Girl Effect Challenge’ will start. We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to Abriendo Oportunidades last year and would love it if you could help us make this next challenge even better. It runs from 1st-30th of November, with the top 6 organisation with the most number of unique donations receiving a share of the Girl Effect fund. If we reach the top 6 the fund would allow us to continue our work with marginalised girls in Guatemala in 2013. Talk to your friends, tell them why you are contributing to Abriendo Oportunidades and ask them to do the same. Start by watching our new video (http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/providing-life-skills-for-rural-mayan-girls/). Also, LIKE us on facebook (www.facebook.com/AbriendoGuate) and help us to reach out to more people.

Thank you!
¡Gracias! 

The result of selling bracelets, Los Tuices
The result of selling bracelets, Los Tuices
Making the productive activities video, Los Tuices
Making the productive activities video, Los Tuices

Links:

Jul 30, 2012

Making Communities Safer for Girls

While much of the time Abriendo Oportunidades works with girl leaders and club participants, another important part of our program involves working with community members to make Guatemala safe for girls. This year five communities where the program is functioning the best were chosen to participate in a series of community mobilization and violence workshops we call “Safescaping.”

The Safescaping workshops are a unique opportunity to engage the entire community around the issue of gender-based violence, especially the safety of girls. Workshops are participatory and interactive, allowing participants to identify what they consider to be violence and how it exists in the context of their own community. We worked in groups of men, women and young people to answer a series of questions about violence including, “What forms of violence do you see in the community?” and “Who are the people who perpetuate violence?”

By listening to all of the different responses from men, women and young people, participants are able to understand the concerns and fears of the entire community. The workshops took place in five different towns covering five linguistic areas and wrapped up with community-led initiatives to end violence against women ranging from a movie showing and discussion to participatory video activities. Workshops like these provide the towns Abriendo Oportunidades works in with a special opportunity to organize themselves around girl issues and listen to what dangers exist in the community. The process has all been very exciting for us as well as we accompany the community through these activities and listen to all of the ideas from participants. In order for people to care about violence against women, it first needs to be visible and that is just what “Safescaping” does!  

Elizabeth and Angelica leading a workshop exercise
Elizabeth and Angelica leading a workshop exercise

Links:

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