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 ...
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:

Feb 10, 2014

Mi Hermanita to Reach 600+ Girls in 2014

Getting Ready for a New School Year
Getting Ready for a New School Year

Mi Hermanita – My Little Sister - Expands as 2014 School Year Begins

Program Evaluation Launched to Measure Outcomes and Impact

Children across Guatemala are returning to school this month, embarking on a school year that runs from mid-January to the end of October. In San Pedro Sacatepéquez girls starting their last year of junior high/middle school (called básico, roughly equivalent to 7th, 8th & 9th grades) are especially excited. Why? Because this year all 300 9th graders in the 13 rural básicos across San Pedro can become a Big Sister and mentor a Little Sister in 2nd or 3rd grade, helping her with schoolwork, motivating her to try her best, and inspiring her to stay in school.

Having piloted Mi Hermanita in five schools during 2013, the Guatemalan staff is poised to expand the program to all of these schools. With this expansion, Mi Hermanita will engage directly with some 600 girls, i.e., Big and Little Sisters combined, along with each of their 600 mothers and many teachers.

According to Marianna, one of last year’s Big Sisters, (pictured below in the middle of two others, each preparing for her next meeting with her Little Sister), “Being a Big Sister to Alicia taught me a lot about myself. Because of her admiration and affection for me, I’m inspired to work even harder in school and be a good example for her. I’m so excited that Alicia is doing better in school, too, and she hardly ever misses a single day anymore! I really look forward to our get-togethers every week and so does she.”

The first workshop of this school year for cooperating teachers and school principals took place just last week. The program veterans among them eagerly shared with their colleagues the positive changes they’ve seen in school attendance, academic performance and self-confidence among both the older and younger girls who were in the pilot program. Working with what we’ve all learned from that experience, this year promises to be even more successful.

Adding to this prospect, during 2014 our participatory programs that support the Big Sisters will be offered on regular basis during their school day. This is a direct result of the program’s recognition and certification by Guatemala’s National Ministry of Education, along with only 12 other organizations nationally. This accreditation also places us in a select network of organizations that itself is a rich resource for sharing best practices and benefitting from one another’s experience promoting girls’ education as the most promising path out of poverty for communities across Guatemala.

Assessment and evaluation efforts looking at program effectiveness and impact will also be stepped up in this school year. Thanks to the professional leadership of WWT’s newest Board member, RoseMarie Perez Foster, Senior Research Specialist at the University of Colorado, Guatemalan staff has agreed on an evaluation design, collaborated in developing the required instruments, and has been trained in interviewing techniques, data collection, entry and compilation, etc. Beginning in mid-February, they will collect baseline data for all program participants and for a set of control schools. This will be compared to data collected in the fall at the end of the school year to assess changes, if any, in measures of school commitment and success, literacy achievement, self esteem, self efficacy, and the like.

As always, it takes more to do more. Your continued and increased financial support is key to this expansion and evaluation. This program is highly valued in all of these communities, motivating and inspiring them to send girls to school. Many thanks…your donations actually do change lives!

Marianna & Friends Preparing for Little Sisters
Marianna & Friends Preparing for Little Sisters
Teacher Workshop
Teacher Workshop

Links:

Dec 12, 2013

PROGRAM WINS NATIONAL RECOGNITION

PROGRAM WINS NATIONAL RECOGNITION

Guatemalan Ministry of Education Makes It Official   

ADIMTU, Women Work Together’s sister organization in San Pedro Sacatepéquez, has been awarded national accreditation from the Guatemalan Ministry of Education for the comprehensive Leadership Institute. They are one of only twelve organizations certified to deliver educational programming in the schools during the school day.  This followed a year-long program review that included field visits, written applications and in-depth workshops.

The program’s certification carries significant weight and prestige and will be an important asset in our efforts to attract more sustainable and in-country funding. It also places ADIMTU staff in the company of other similarly innovative organizations, to learn from them, build local capacity and bring more direct benefit to all parties.

Collaborations Count

Girls' premature romances and ensuing pregnancies are frequently cited as a reason why girls leave school. Fathers in particular have been very forthright in asking for ADIMTU's help in addressing this problem. While eager to respond, the staff is not trained in this very specialized field. Through the Education Ministry's accreditation process, ADIMTU connected with the Fundación Juan Bautista Guitiérrez, a long-established and highly-regarded Guatemalan foundation dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable communities, including programs for teens on reproductive health.  FJBG agreed to partner with ADIMTU and spent most of November working with students in 10 of ADIMTU's middle school sites during the school vacation.

Girls Leadership Institute Reorganizes to Maximize Impact

All of our programs for girls and their mothers, fathers, teachers, and community leaders are now under the umbrella of a newly configured Leadership Institute. This brings together our girl-centered, 10-month in-school programs with the workshops, community conversations and trainings for adults. ADIMTU will work in each rural community more frequently, carrying the message that Educated Girls Can Change the Future. Look for an expanded description of the Leadership Institute on our updated website, www.womenworktogether.org. 

Will You Stick With Us?

We believe we're establishing a sufficient track record to qualify for larger scale grants. During 2014 and 2015 we will be working to secure more sustainable funding for ADIMTU, perhaps as a demonstration site for other Guatemalan communities and schools. 

However, this will take time, during which we will still need to raise $120,000 annually to support the ongoing work which will impact over 800+ girls and their families in San Pedro. 

This breaks down to just $150 per-girl-per-year, and barely $75 per person once you factor in affected mothers, fathers, teachers, and community leaders.  

And so we ask you to please stick with us and continue or even increase your support so we and all these wonderful girls don't lose all our hard-won gains.

Your investments so far have already paid off. These young teen girls have a greater sense of themselves than ever before. They love to read. They look you in the eye. They express their own ideas with confidence. And they speak up in public as never before. The girls are seeing themselves as important people...contributors to their families, active members of their communities, and valued participants in society.

Moms w/books written about them by their daughters
Moms w/books written about them by their daughters

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