Women Work Together

Mission Statement Women Work Together supports women and girls in highland Guatemala in their efforts toward gender equality, focusing on girls' access to education. Our mission is to raise the socio-economic status of Guatemalan women and girls by cultivating and strengthening their ability to work effectively in groups and aspire to leadership, thus accelerating positive changes in their lives and in their communities. We believe that the cycle of poverty and powerlessness endemic to rural Mayan women can be broken through systemic grassroots change that values and invests in girls' education and leadership. To accomplish this, we have taken an uncommon path in Latin America, partnering ...
Jun 23, 2014

The Community Sees a Difference

Proud Father and Daughter
Proud Father and Daughter

As I was leaving Guatemala last February after spending over a month there, I was approached by a man who wanted to share his observations of ADIMTU’s work in the villages of San Pedro Sacatepéquez and especially what he thought about the impact it was having on the adolescent girls in the communities where they work. His opinion was of great interest to me, as he was from that region, had extensive experience working in community development, and had followed ADIMTU’s work over the last several years as it evolved and deepened.

What he said was profound. He had observed significant differences in the attitude and behaviors of girls in communities where ADIMTU is working compared to those of girls in neighboring communities where there is no ADIMTU presence. In communities where ADIMTU was not working, the incidence of early pregnancy among teenage girls was disturbingly high, he said. Girls commonly began bearing children at puberty, lured by the entreaties of local boys to become novios (sweethearts) and live happily ever after. As a result, 15–16 year old girls would often be trailed by several offspring and the course of a life of deprivation and poverty for them and their children would be set. In addition, the incidents of human trafficking were mounting, he reported, as when a shining pick up truck rolls into town and its driver promises a future in which a girl’s dreams would come true. Too often, the girl would climb aboard, never to be seen again.

In contrast, he’d observed that the girls who participated in ADIMTU’s programs had a much stronger sense of self. They knew they could stand on their own and that they had the internal capacity to set their own goals and make positive decisions in their lives that would help them achieve those goals. They knew that others valued them. They wanted to live lives in which they could make a significant contribution to their family, their community, and possibly their country. They were not lured by promises of others – neither prospective novios nor traffickers, to whom they would say, “I don’t need to leave, I have a place right here.” And, he noted, their peers, also program participants, agreed with one another, unknowingly but effectively shifting community norms along with their personal changes.

These differences are profound, and yet, when one examines the experiences and learning the girls acquire over the 3 years of their work with ADIMTU, one can see the reasons why:

In Grade 7 (La Vida de Mi Mamá) they learn first-hand about the hardships their mothers faced, and resolve to continue their education so as to be better prepared to lead a better life, with more opportunity.

In Grade 8 (La Lectura Familiar) they learn to really read, with access to wonderful books that explore lives and worlds outside of their own and that are selected by ADIMTU staff to include examples of inquiry, exploration, goal settling, persistence and success. As they share these books with their families, the girls bring new ideas and experiences into the family discourse, simultaneously opening the thinking and expectations of the whole community, family reading time by family reading time, household by household.

Finally, in Grade 9 (Mi Hermanita) they each take responsibility for a little sister, guiding her to success in school through weekly tutoring sessions while also demonstrating to themselves, their families and community members that they indeed have the power to create permanent change in themselves and in the people around them.

The girls who develop this sense of their own capacities want to grow and achieve their own dreams and they know they have the internal resources to do so. Of course, we can not claim this is true for all girls in ADIMTU programs, as the factors influencing their lives are many, but to hear a local man’s observations of such a general trend is very heartening.

The reports of the overwhelming numbers of young children and teens being detained at our borders as they flee their homes and try to enter the US to find a better life are startling and deeply troubling. These young people must be so very desperate to take on such danger and uncertainty. Surely, it must be because they feel they have no future where they are.

While relatively modest, as ADIMTU’s programs evolve they may well become a significant intervention to these overarching trends. We are conducting a 3-year longitudinal evaluation both to learn if this is so and to help ADIMTU improve programs in the field. We believe this to be true, and it has given strength to our ongoing resolve to help them continue this work.

As ever, each and every financial contribution gives the ADIMTU staff the resources they need to go out each day, armed with books and art supplies and activities which help turn these girls’ faces toward a brighter future. We hope you will find it in your hearts to make a contribution to support their work.

 

Thank you.

Girls learn leadership skills in the classroom
Girls learn leadership skills in the classroom
2nd year girls read aloud to their families
2nd year girls read aloud to their families
Delivering books to schools
Delivering books to schools
Mar 14, 2014

Evaluation Program Underway

ADIMTU Team in San Pedro Sacatepequez
ADIMTU Team in San Pedro Sacatepequez

Evaluation Program Underway - Programs Set for Expansion

Our top-notch program and evaluation team of Wendy Baring-Gould and RoseMarie Perez Foster spent several weeks in San Pedro Sacatepéquez during January & February working intensively with the ADIMTU team to prepare for the new school year. During their first week in San Pedro they worked with ADIMTU to refine and pilot our expanded evaluation plan, digging into every detail from student profile categories to data collection plans and protocols. The subsequent week was devoted to curriculum planning, teacher training and implementation preparation.

Utilizing a controlled pre-post experimental design, RoseMarie, a psycho-educational researcher at the Institute for Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, has constructed a longitudinal outcomes study to assess the efficacy of our program. Standardized testing instruments will be used to assess the girls’ literacy skills and psycho-developmental strides. The statistically analyzed impact of ADIMTU’s program will be compared with matched schools in San Marcos that do not receive the intervention. Preliminary results are expected at the beginning of 2015. Significantly, as the National Ministry of Education has learned more about the breadth and depth of ADIMTU’s Leadership Institute programs, they’ve expressed their willingness to and interest in cooperating with WWT and ADIMTU to accomplish this evaluation.                                                                   

Under RoseMarie’s leadership and her continuing skype consultations, ADIMTU has begun the process of data collection in the thirteen schools where we are providing all of the Leadership Institute programs, aka “the intervention.” ADIMTU’s data manager will soon be collecting data at the 6 control schools as well.

On the program front, Wendy worked with the ADIMTU team to develop a detailed curriculum guide that specifies week-by-week activities for the 3 core programs, La Vida de Mi Mama (My Mother’s Life), La Lectura Familiar (Family Reading Time), and Mi Hermanita (My Little Sister). Each change agent, supported by a university intern, will annotate and critique the curricula as she implements them, with regular group reviews to improve content and delivery. Between field visits, Wendy also supports the ADIMTU team from Boulder via email and skype calls.

On the very practical side, the group revisited their materials needs in light of program expansion, including the need for many more books, art materials and the like. Also in light of growth, they reviewed the practical logistics and related cost increases, such as transportation to the more distant schools and increased computer and cell phone support, and determined that their 2014 operating budget is $80,000.

During this field visit, the team also met with teachers from our 13 schools to prepare for the programs’ incorporation into the school day. The group reviewed the updated curricula and enthusiastically validated its synergy with Guatemala’s national curriculum. They also discussed the evaluation design and offered recommendations, always taken into account as these educators are very important allies on the ground.

And so the work continues. All indications are that 2014 will be a banner year for Leadership Institute programs. Our colleagues at ADIMTU are now reaching nearly 1100 middle school girls, their families and teachers, plus 300 or so 2nd and 3rd grade Little Sisters along with their families and teachers. The multipliers and ripple effects are terrific @ “just” $80,000 annually, which breaks down to a cost of few dollars per beneficiary with a rather high social rate of return on investment.

Your support for Women Work Together aligns you with ADIMTU’s genuine grassroots effort to shift community norms so that girls regularly attend and achieve in school and become community leaders in San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, and across Guatemala. ¡Muchas gracias!

Teachers Working with ADIMTU Staff
Teachers Working with ADIMTU Staff
Wendy (left) and RoseMarie (right) at work
Wendy (left) and RoseMarie (right) at work

Links:

Mar 13, 2014

Evaluation Program Underway - Programs Set for Expansion

ADIMTU Team in San Pedro Sacatepequez
ADIMTU Team in San Pedro Sacatepequez

Evaluation Program Underway - Programs Set for Expansion

Our top-notch program and evaluation team of Wendy Baring-Gould and RoseMarie Perez Foster spent several weeks in San Pedro Sacatepéquez during January & February working intensively with the ADIMTU team to prepare for the new school year. During their first week in San Pedro they worked with ADIMTU to refine and pilot our expanded evaluation plan, digging into every detail from student profile categories to data collection plans and protocols. The subsequent week was devoted to curriculum planning, teacher training and implementation preparation.

Utilizing a controlled pre-post experimental design, RoseMarie, a psycho-educational researcher at the Institute for Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, has constructed a longitudinal outcomes study to assess the efficacy of our program. Standardized testing instruments will be used to assess the girls’ literacy skills and psycho-developmental strides. The statistically analyzed impact of ADIMTU’s program will be compared with matched schools in San Marcos that do not receive the intervention. Preliminary results are expected at the beginning of 2015. Significantly, as the National Ministry of Education has learned more about the breadth and depth of ADIMTU’s Leadership Institute programs, they’ve expressed their willingness to and interest in cooperating with WWT and ADIMTU to accomplish this evaluation.                                                                   

Under RoseMarie’s leadership and her continuing skype consultations, ADIMTU has begun the process of data collection in the thirteen schools where we are providing all of the Leadership Institute programs, aka “the intervention.” ADIMTU’s data manager will soon be collecting data at the 6 control schools as well.

On the program front, Wendy worked with the ADIMTU team to develop a detailed curriculum guide that specifies week-by-week activities for the 3 core programs, La Vida de Mi Mama (My Mother’s Life), La Lectura Familiar (Family Reading Time), and Mi Hermanita (My Little Sister). Each change agent, supported by a university intern, will annotate and critique the curricula as she implements them, with regular group reviews to improve content and delivery. Between field visits, Wendy also supports the ADIMTU team from Boulder via email and skype calls.

On the very practical side, the group revisited their materials needs in light of program expansion, including the need for many more books, art materials and the like. Also in light of growth, they reviewed the practical logistics and related cost increases, such as transportation to the more distant schools and increased computer and cell phone support, and determined that their 2014 operating budget is $80,000.

During this field visit, the team also met with teachers from our 13 schools to prepare for the programs’ incorporation into the school day. The group reviewed the updated curricula and enthusiastically validated its synergy with Guatemala’s national curriculum. They also discussed the evaluation design and offered recommendations, always taken into account as these educators are very important allies on the ground.

And so the work continues. All indications are that 2014 will be a banner year for Leadership Institute programs. Our colleagues at ADIMTU are now reaching nearly 1100 middle school girls, their families and teachers, plus 300 or so 2nd and 3rd grade Little Sisters along with their families and teachers. The multipliers and ripple effects are terrific @ “just” $80,000 annually, which breaks down to a cost of few dollars per beneficiary with a rather high social rate of return on investment.

Your support for Women Work Together aligns you with ADIMTU’s genuine grassroots effort to shift community norms so that girls regularly attend and achieve in school and become community leaders in San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, and across Guatemala. ¡Muchas gracias!

Teachers Working with ADIMTU Staff
Teachers Working with ADIMTU Staff
Wendy (left) and RoseMarie (right) at work
Wendy (left) and RoseMarie (right) at work

Links:

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