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.
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:

Apr 26, 2012

Rugby, health and prevention of violence on Mother's Day.

Julia flying with the rugby ball.
Julia flying with the rugby ball.

So far 2012 has been a busy year for Abriendo Oportunidades girl leaders, full of workshops on sexual-reproductive health, prevention of gender-based violence, resume writing, and even rugby!  We have been working with amazing volunteers from Peace Corps and the Guatemala Rugby Club to provide girls with high quality learning opportunities.

Last month, the girl club leaders started to learn how to play rugby with the help of coaches and players from the Guatemala Rugby Club. They are learning to play tag rugby and each girl leader has one ball and tag belts to start playing the game in their community. Since rugby is not often played in Guatemala, especially in rural areas, this provides the girls with the opportunity to “own” the game and use it as a tool to empower girl club members. Creating safe spaces for girls to play, learn and grow is an important aspect of the program and rugby is more than just a sport for them. It is a way for the girls to learn to work together, grow as a team and play a sport that nobody, not even
men, in their communities are playing. The rugby revolution is Guatemala has not only already begun, but its leaders are young rural Mayan girls!

So this Mother’s Day, we are asking for you to help us continue AO club activities and expand our growing rugby project. We are hoping to work with a volunteer to visit the communities and organize training activities with the girls clubs directly to help them continue to learn more about the sport, and then ultimately have a rugby tournament in December! Donations will also help us buy more balls, make more tags belts and cover the costs of adding an extra day to our workshops to train and play rugby. The Guatemala Rugby Club is committed to providing high quality, safe, and fun activities to bring this sport to our 45 communities. By creating safe spaces to learn, grow and develop into empowered, educated young women, Abriendo Oportunidades will continue to form girls who decide when THEY want to become mothers and then pass on these same values to their daughters! Happy Mother’s Day to mothers across the world, from rural Guatemala!

Girls training.
Girls training.
The first tag rugby match.
The first tag rugby match.
Youth leaders at reproductive health workshop.
Youth leaders at reproductive health workshop.
Peace Corps volunteer facilitating workshop
Peace Corps volunteer facilitating workshop
Jan 30, 2012

Vegetable gardens and ready for rugby!

Vasquez tire gardens
Vasquez tire gardens

Abriendo Oportunidades is beginning the year with many activities. Girl clubs in Sololá are collaborating with a local organization measuring children under 2 years of age to participate in a nutrition project.  Girls are learning to document weight and height and keep track of children's progress.  The Vasquez group in Totonicapán is continuing to bring vegetables to girls' tables.  Peace Corps volunteer Keisha Herbert and Abriendo leader Olga Yax are leading girls into transforming old tires into an opportunity to grow vegetables in every girl's back yard.

Another exciting addition to 2012 activities is rugby.  The Guatemala Rugby Club is volunteering to organize sports clinics for girl leaders so that each club can incorporate rugby into their recreational activities.  Rugby is perfect to learn about team work, building strategies, communication and respect.  Each Abriendo club will get a basic rugby kit: a ball, a whistle and cones to mark the field.  We know rugby will be a great success! Girls already play their own version of rugby, so we know they will enjoy learning from the GRC volunteers.

Stay tuned for pictures of the new gardens and the upcoming rugby clinics!

Ready for rugby
Ready for rugby
An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Population Council

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Population Council on GreatNonProfits.org.