Progress and Accomplishments – 2014
Women Work Together (WWT), in collaboration with our Guatemalan partners at ADIMTU (Asociación de Desarrollo Integral: Mujeres Trabajan Unidas), set out to accomplish three ambitious goals during 2014:
We can report that great strides have been made toward achieving each of these goals:
Transfer of Program Ownership and Implementation
Coming into 2013, the ADIMTU staff began to take the lead in all aspects of the work, as the emphasis of WWT’s twice yearly visits to San Pedro shifted from program development and delivery to technical assistance, capacity building, along with financial support. This transfer was completed successfully during 2014 and culminated with the ADIMTU team’s December trip to Boulder for two weeks of staff development, strategic planning and face-to-face meetings that strengthened existing relationships and forged valuable new ones.
The ADIMTU staff is fully implementing a comprehensive, sequential set of activities for all girls in grades 7, 8, and 9 in 13 rural middle schools across San Pedro Sacatepéquez. They planned and led 3 teacher workshops for the 50 plus teachers and administrators who support the programs in their schools, along with a series of workshops for mothers and fathers of the participating girls. With the guidance and encouragement of WWT Program Director, Wendy Baring-Gould, in her periodic onsite visits and regular skype meetings with the team, ADIMTU has grown significantly in competence and confidence, and they are leading the program with skill, dedication and professionalism.
Refinements in Program Design
The advent of the 2014 school year in February marked a significant shift in program design and implementation. Rather than being a pullout program as before, the Girls Leadership Institute moved to a saturation model, with all girls at each rural middle school participating in the Leadership Institute for all three years. Each grade-level curriculum (The Life of My Mother, Family Reading Time and My Little Sister) is taught by ADIMTU field staff in two classroom session per month over the 10 months of the school year, extended via collaboration with teachers who incorporate activities related to the programs into their classrooms. During January and February ADIMTU staff worked closely with these teachers to verify that Institute programs indeed dovetail with existing national educational goals and objectives.
The Girls Leadership Institute is the banner that defines all of ADIMTU’s work. This extends to outreach to and education for all members of the girls’ educational community/support system: parents, teachers, community leaders, etc. ADIMTU hired an additional outreach worker in January to help implement this more broad-based and intensive contact strategy. The ADIMTU staff now totals 5 full-time professionals (all women) and one part time data manager in addition to the 5 – 10 university level interns who support the work each year (women and men, working together).
An informal but especially significant measure of our success is the fact that after only 2 years of piloting, the programs of The Leadership Institute have been welcomed into all 13 SPS rural middle schools. In a very short time, ADIMTU’s work has evolved from occasional programs and activities outside of school to one in which teachers are setting aside class time for ADIMTU staff to work directly with all of the girls in all 3 grades. As reported by teachers and school directors, attendance and retention are improving, girls are more engaged in the classroom and attitudes among parents and community leaders about the merits of educating girls are changing. The girls themselves consistently report that they see the connection between success in school and a better future for themselves and their families. There is clear and consistent anecdotal data from all quarters to suggest that this work is indeed changing lives. And now we are poised to demonstrate this with quantitative data as well.
During 2014 Women Work Together initiated a three-year longitudinal evaluation of changes in attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of the girls participating in Leadership Institute programs, as compared those in a control group in an adjacent community. Data will be used to monitor program success, guide changes, and support applications for future funding. This evaluation program is led and overseen by RoseMarie Perez-Foster, PhD, a WWT Board member and Senior Research Associate, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder. The design includes written pre and post tests given each year to each girl. These measure self- efficacy, self-esteem, language fluency and desire to continue their education. Results from this first year’s data will be available in March 2015. Preliminary data was available and used to inform program planning for the 2015 school year.
External Recognition and Support
Since its establishment in 2012, ADIMTU has become known as an agent of community change. As such, the staff is often called upon to do workshops or presentations on the importance of educating girls and the impacts doing so will have on families, communities and the country. They are frequent presenters on local TV, and are becoming known as conduits for innovative programming directed at San Pedro communities with the core message: Send Your Daughter to School. This role is sure to expand over time as financial support and staff time allow. Examples from 2014 include:
The programs of the Girls Leadership Institute are active in all 13 rural schools of San Pedro, and include all the girls who attend middle school in each community. This saturation model is designed to change not only individual girls, but also the community’s overarching attitudes about the value of sending girls to school. These changes must start with the girls themselves, as their role models are their mothers, who grew up in a different time and were prepared to live lives that are no longer viable in Guatemala’s changing economic environment. Today’s girls need to see themselves in a new light, to understand that they have the capacity to change the lives they lead, and to demonstrate that possibility to their families and their communities. Every activity of the Girls Leadership Institute is designed to foster that change.
In addition to the direct response from the girls, teachers and parents, anecdotal data from community members familiar with the program report that the girls who are participating in the Leadership Institute understand that they have personal capacity and opportunity to create positive futures for themselves and their own families. In the communities where ADIMTU is working, the incidence of early pregnancy as well as the number of girls lured into human trafficking is significantly reduced. The girls themselves have an enhanced sense of their own value and are proving the truth of the Institute’s motto: Educated Girls Can Change the Future.
Individuals Served Directly during 2014
Middle school girls 13 –17 years old 630
Primary girls in Mi Hermanita program 250
Parents of middle school girls 800
Parents of primary girls 325
Teachers & directors in middle schools 50
Teachers & directors in primary schools 80
Total Individuals 2,135
Fiscal and Legal Infrastructure
Under the leadership of the ADIMTU Board, comprehensive steps have been taken to bring ADIMTU in compliance with the newly adopted fiscal and legal requirements of Guatemala’s federal government which pertain to associations of their type. This has involved working with an in-country CPA and auditor to formalize staff benefits, develop and implement extremely accurate accounting practices which track all expenditure with signed receipts, and create complete financial reports available for review.
During this past year, ADIMTU staff has independently generated four proposals to prospective funders which prefer to fund in-country. Two of these have been positively received and two others are still under review. In addition, they have hosted three site visits by program officers from prospective funders and managed these visits with very positive results. Coached and encouraged by WWT in these endeavors, the staff there has developed a firm understanding of the process and has been rewarded for their efforts. This newfound capacity helps to position the organization to move forward, post-2015, independent of WWT’s support. A central goal for 2015 is to strengthen prospects for sustainability on the ground.
We thank you for helping to make 2014 such a successful year. Without your support, these gains would not have been possible.
The five remarkable Guatemalan women who run our Girls Leadership Institute arrived in Boulder the day after Thanksgiving for a much-anticipated two week working visit. And what a visit it was!
This was the first time that so many of the players on both our U.S. and Guatemalan teams have all been at the same table. To no one’s surprise, we accomplished deeper work than ever on program and evaluation planning for 2015. We also made great progress on determining our strategy for creating a sustainable future for the Leadership Institute programs and for ADIMTU as a continuing grassroots force for change in San Pedro Sacatepéquez.
While in Boulder, the group had a chance to brief some of the leadership of the Global Education Fund on the growing impact of the Girls Leadership Institute and to personally thank them for their continued financial support. Similarly at Boulder’s First Congregational Church whose Board of Missions has also been a generous repeat funder.
Women Work Together hosted several informal gatherings for friends and supporters, all of whom came away inspired. At each get-together the ADIMTU team shared compelling stories, along with pictures and videos that made their work with the girls, their teachers and families, especially mothers, come alive. They’d brought several moving examples of handmade books that the girls had written to illustrate what they'd learned and where they express their dreams for themselves and their country. While those of us who could pitched in to help translate (none of the team are English-speakers), each woman’s passion for and commitment to this work came thru in every encounter.
The team visited several Boulder schools including Horizons K-8, the bilingual program at Casey Middle School, and an advanced Spanish class at Boulder High School. In each case, they were struck by the interactive relationships between students and teachers and how this stimulates, motivates, and involves students in their own learning. They also visited the University of Colorado, toured the Law School and other parts of the campus, and enjoyed the annual performance of The Nutcracker at Macky Auditorium. Many other experiences and adventures rounded out their visit, from hikes in the local foothills and the community experience of Boulder’s annual Parade of Lights to an excursion to the Denver Art Museum.
Worth noting: These five women embody the critical difference that educated women can make in creating a different future for Guatemala. They each grew up in nearby towns and villages. They are each the first women in their families to go to college and have careers, along with (some) being wives and mothers who are now motivating their own children to do the same. They are living models for the girls in our programs, demonstrating that the girls themselves can “be the change.”
Your financial support tips the scales in their favor. Thank you for your continued commitment.
When all was said and done, it was the people of Boulder who made the greatest impression on our partners and they on us. It’s with this in mind that we share with you the following informal comments from one of the team, expressed in her own words and in her own language, for those readers who read Spanish.
Mis Impresiones de Boulder – Comentario Individual
Alejandra Ramos, Agente de Cambio, ADIMTU
Es difícil describir quince días de aprendizaje, conocimientos compartidos y vivencias extraordinarias.
Quedé sorprendida en cuanto al sistema en sí que tienen en Colorado, la autonomía que los caracteriza y les permite crear, generar y aplicar para el mejoramiento de sus mismas ciudades, como el caso de Boulder. De las experiencias que me impactaron fueron las siguientes:
Paisajes Quedé sorprendida de las montañas, la planicie del lugar, las calles amplias, los árboles (que aunque estén secos, los visualizaba en su pleno resplandor y me gustaban), la mañana del primer sábado en nuestra estancia allá en que salimos a caminar para conocer el hermoso lago, me enamoré de esas montañas y senderos y el amanecer lleno de color y viveza. El haber ido a las montañas y conocer una parte del interior o provincia de Boulder, conocer la nieve, disfrutar de ella, ver esquiar a las personas fue muy sorpresivo y llamativo para mí.
Cultura General La capacidad de las personas con las que interactúe, la facilidad que tienen de intercambiar conversaciones de todo ámbito de la vida, salud, recreación, política, educación, cultura, etc. Y esas mismas visiones durante todo el tiempo que estuvimos en Denver a mi en particular me permitieron disfrutar del Ballet de Los Cascanueces, que aunque ya lo había visto en otra oportunidad, esta vez fue con mayor escenografía, mas personajes, la elegancia de la orquesta siendo parte de la función. También el hecho de asistir al Museo de Arte, en donde no solo se aprecia y conoce el arte sino se interactúa con el arte, de donde extrajimos parte del artista que todos llevamos dentro, conocer y saber más sobre los indígenas, me permitió hacer comparaciones incluso con los mismos indígenas de Guatemala.
Educación Me gustó mucho asistir a escuelas del Estado, ver la infraestructura y recursos tecnológicos que tienen, pero principalmente la metodología participativa utilizada por las profesoras, y el nivel tan alto de intervención que los alumnos tienen, la opinión y análisis propio, el grado de confianza entre docente y alumno hasta el grado de confiar en el mismo alumno en que revisara su test de evaluación y tener el concepto de que no es necesario estresar al alumno pensando en un examen, para que éste aprenda sino que en la misma evaluación de contenido puede ser el momento para que aprenda. Ese pensamiento solo lo tienen los grandes educadores y los que en realidad han dejado atrás las clases tradicionales.
Presentaciones de Proyectos Cada vez que conocía a nuevos donantes pensaba: ¿Qué hacemos para recibir tantos beneficios de estas personas que tanto bien le han y nos han hecho a la comunidad en San Pedro Sacatepéquez? Y lo que era mejor, al momento de hablarles de los proyectos y cada una de las historias de las chicas, y ver los gestos y semblantes de aprobación y aceptación de los asistentes, me convencía cada vez más sobre los resultados alcanzados por ADIMTU, y a la vez me enorgullecía de mí misma por ser parte de esos resultados, y me permitió darme cuenta que nací y he crecido como lideresa en MTU que también yo he sido un piloto más, pero un piloto que ya está creciendo y debe seguir haciéndolo.
Equidad de Género Observar como realmente llevan a la práctica este tema, fue también interesante, pues al estar tan acostumbradas a un país machista y aún así tratar de ir cambiando generaciones a través de las chicas, el hecho de asistir a cenas por invitaciones especiales a las casas de miembros de la junta de WWT, lo primero que impactaron nuestros ojos es observar la integración que tienen los hombres en los oficios de la casa, especialmente en la cocina, el hecho de que sirvan la mesa y cocinen para su familia. Eso permite que las mujeres tengan las facilidades para un mejor desenvolvimiento académico profesional.
Concepto de dar y no acaparar El dar sin límites en las personas con quienes convivimos y que nos dijeron que era una característica del mismo Boulder, ese espíritu de solidaridad y humanitario y que desde pequeños inculcan eso en los niños de las escuelas o colegios, tal como lo observamos en chicos que recaudan donativos para dárselos a GEF, el solo hecho de que un buen porcentaje de con quienes convivimos forman parte de grupos de beneficencia social.
Profesional Muy contenta y agradecida por haberme hecho una cita con una abogada y profesora de leyes de la facultad de leyes de Wolf en Boulder, haber conocido las instalaciones, los recursos que utilizan, el pensum de estudios de la universidad. Quedé asombrada sobre el avance y la misma especialización que van creando en los alumnos para su formación. Esto me permite abrir las puertas para mi crecimiento intelectual y profesional.
Ah y la infraestructura o arquitectura de las casas, cada una con su particularidad pero con un diseño espectacular, acogedoras, bellas y únicas.
Finalmente estoy agradecida con WWT por la experiencia que me permitieron vivir y disfrutar y que a mis cortos años de edad sin la ayuda de uds hubiese sido difícil. Todas y todos nos trataron como reynas y esa esencia son únicamente uds los miembros y colaboradores de WWT quienes la tienen. Y como siempre decimos: De corazón a corazón muchas GRACIAS.
Cycle 2 of Evaluation Set to Go
Like everyone else, we want to know whether our work is making a measurable difference in the lives of girls, families and communities in San Pedro Sacatepéquez. We also want to learn how we can do a better job of what we’re doing.
In January of this year we launched a systematic evaluation program to gather much-needed data to substantiate (or not) our working hypotheses, measure impacts, and help us improve our programs. The evaluation design and instruments, overseen by WWT Board member and volunteer Dr. RoseMarie Perez-Foster, Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, were developed in collaboration with our ADIMTU partners. The program is built around a pre/post test, control group design and includes collecting demographic data on both the girls and, to some extent, their families.
Combining the schools where Leadership Institute programs are offered and the control schools in which we do not offer these interventions, the evaluation team is collecting data on the better part of 1000 adolescent girls.
RoseMarie trained ADIMTU staff to collect the first cycle of data at the beginning of the school year (January-October in Guatemala). She’s mentored Advin Orozco Fuentes, an ADIMTU intern studying at the nearby national university and now-paid staffer, to manage the data collection, coding and entry. He recently traveled to Guatemala City for training by our consulting statistician, Dr. Meredith Fort. We’re so pleased about how Advin has grown into this job and has become an important member of the onsite evaluation team, a terrific unintended consequence of our work in San Pedro.
Right now the team is crunching cycle 1 data while preparing to administer cycle 2 of the assessment during October. We’re looking forward to sharing improved descriptive stats on the girls with you before the end of the year, followed by a more detailed report on program impacts and outcomes, ideally by February/March 2015.
ADIMTU Staff Attends II Foro Internacional
ADIMTU was honored to be invited and receive the funding necessary to participate in the Second International Forum sponsored by the Kenoli Foundation of Vancouver, B.C. and held in Honduras in September. The purpose of the Forum was to foster the exchange of knowledge, experience and outcomes among the 30 organizations from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua that receive funding from Kenoli. Of the 7 Guatemalan organizations attending, ADIMTU was the only one not yet funded by Kenoli, and was pleased to be introduced as a future partner.
Alejandra Ramos de León, an ADIMTU change agent who has been part of the Girls Leadership Program since its inception, ably represented ADIMTU there. Describing ADIMTU’s mission and programs, Alejandra both presented to the whole group and participated in small-group workshops. She also staffed a table where she had many good one-on-one conversations.
Alejandra reports that people’s response to ADIMTU’s work was very positive, especially among those representing other projects that address Childhood and Youth in Central America. She learned the ins and outs of preparing a successful proposal to Kenoli and what financial and program reporting and evaluation are required. She was especially pleased to report that, thanks to the hard work of their Board, ADIMTU is well-prepared to meet all such requirements for transparency and accountability.
You can count on it. Your generous donations are changing lives. Just ask our girls, their mothers and others in San Pedro Sacatepéquez. They all agree: Educated Girls Change the Future.
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.
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!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
http://www.womenworktogether.org/ (We're working on a major site revision now, launching soon.)