The Frances and Henry Riecken Foundation, Inc.

We offer Central Americans hope and the opportunity to overcome poverty by promoting democracy and prosperity through community libraries that spark a spirit of discovery and foster citizen participation.
May 28, 2015

Guatemalan young women, one generation GPS

Domingo Garcia, Young participant in the Project
Domingo Garcia, Young participant in the Project

The United Nations says that the culture is an engine for development and generates further identity and individual and collective self-esteem, as well as the social cohesion and of inclusion, both individuals and groups belonging to each of the people and ethnics groups. As a consequence, Culture is one of the most effective mechanisms to help and combat the exclusion, violence, crime, racism, social inequality, poverty and the extreme poverty. The Riecken community libraries continue demonstrating that investing in Libraries is to invest in development. The proposal “Guatemalan young people, agents of social cohesion, submitted to the online competition promoted by Mi Sangre and NEXSO, has won the FRIST PRIZE. http://www.nexso.org/es-es/jovenescreativos2014

Since Riecken community libraries in Guatemala, Young people have taken a firm step to bring about a change in attitude toward their present and future; the communities can lead its development from its cultural essence, resources, tangible and intangible assets.

Young people, overall the women, learned to investigate, to analyze and to observe their surroundings using technology Global Geo; in short, they learned to visualize their culture from their own past. In a process of recovery of memory, grandparents and young people prioritized the most relevant stories and identified in each of the communities, taking into account aspects such as their importance in the community, information sources and time of existence in the community, among others.

Five Riecken community libraries in Guatemala are involving different sectors of communities in decision-making on what places mapping and the use are given maps produced.  The groups that have formed and trained for tours and recording points include children, youth and seniors; especially the seniors have been the essential historical source to identity potential routes of mapping.  So far, have been developed cultural, cadastral, agricultural and economic maps, that are supporting the work of municipalities, schools, forestry offices, artisan cooperatives and tours guides, and even neighboring communities have benefited from record boundaries.

The principal leading of the implementation process of social cartography are Riecken community libraries in Guatemala. “open to future Windows”(Chiché), “Rija’Tzuul Na’ooj” (San Juan la Laguna, Sololá), “My new world” (Huitán), “New Dawn” (Cabricán) and the Library Nojival” (Xolsacmaljá, Totonicapán). Community leaders’ board and librarians of these communities have led a training process that has involved 75 children aged between 10-14 years; most of the students are into 4th to 6th, on primary grade level. Training topics addressed were, among others, essential notions of mapping, characterization of coordinates and map projections, use of technology global geo (GPS) and spatial sampling, definition of Community routes and patterns of social research and effective use of applications such as Google Earth.

So far these actions are directly benefiting to about 30,112 persons from 5 rural communities in Guatemala and indirectly approximately 13,000 families.

The recognition by Fundation “Mi Sangre” and NEXSO, developing solutions to youth groups Riecken Community Libraries in Guatemala is an opportunity to further deepen in visualize the culture as an agent of change and development and especially in creating economic opportunities in rural communities in Guatemala.  

Despite its natural, cultural and development potential wealth, the general population and especially young people do not find economic opportunities so they are forced to leave their high school or away from their territories and communities in the search for a more positive horizon that allows them to develop as human beings with full rights.  Promoting entrepreneurial skills in young people to enable them to develop further their studies and develop economic activities in their communities no longer a major challenge: how to develop economic activity in collaboration with peoples to their worldview, traditional knowledge and skills are adequately integrated and look reinforced?;  How to develop an economic activity whose ultimate goal is not only increasing income but generates opportunities to strengthen the bond of young people to their community and identity and mitigate the impact of youth migration?. For these reasons and considering the successes achieved through technology and culture as a means of youth development, the prize money will focus on developing skills in young people through leadership Riecken community libraries.

Since the libraries, the development of technological, educational and learning spaces in entrepreneurialism to youth in the community skills will be promoted for Young people, students and library users to strengthen their personal values and collective leadership as an organized group, generate ideas entrepreneurship and its projection to the community.

Girls entering coordinanates in positioning device
Girls entering coordinanates in positioning device
Delivery guides at Huitan community
Delivery guides at Huitan community

Links:

Feb 18, 2015

Promoting Social Capital through Riecken Community Libraries

Artisan Women of Guatemala using technology
Artisan Women of Guatemala using technology

Riecken Community Libraries are proving that libraries are essential for a democratic society. The libraries are institutions where citizens are encouraged to make informed decisions and achieve their full potential. They deliver knowledge, promote critical thinking and stimulate self-education and lifelong learning. In poor communities, libraries also fulfill the role of providing a sustainable framework, with the library’s operations run by volunteers in the community. Through community leadership, important principles of development and self-government are formed.

 The network of community libraries support the improvement of educational quality by reducing the achievement gap with programs, offering complementary resources at local education centers, improving access to information and supporting teacher training. In one specific initiative called “Read Takes You Away!”, the libraries help strengthen performance and utilization of Spanish classes through reading for pleasure in coordination with curriculums that support reading with children, parents and teachers. With technical assistance from USAID, more than 30,000 children and 1,200 schools are involved and are supported by the more than 80 volunteers from the Riecken’s libraries.

 Technology in the libraries represents an opportunity for economic inclusion of excluded sectors. The community libraries organize new services to meet the needs of the population such as integrating business centers into the library model. Local business producers – for example, weavers and artisans – are able to gain access to technology to improve their sales activities and business promotion. To further their education and understanding on how technology can help them, seminars are offered on marketing and business applications. Small business owners learn from one another through shared experiences and stories.

Training women teacher
Training women teacher

Links:

Feb 18, 2015

Talented Librarians and an Engaged Community are Keys to Success

Reading Pleasure with Children
Reading Pleasure with Children

Riecken Community Libraries are proving that libraries are essential for a democratic society. The libraries are institutions where citizens are encouraged to make informed decisions and achieve their full potential. They deliver knowledge, promote critical thinking and stimulate self-education and lifelong learning. In poor communities, libraries also fulfill the role of providing a sustainable framework, with the library’s operations run by volunteers in the community. Through community leadership, important principles of development and self-government are formed.

Riecken Community Libraries distinguish themselves from similar development initiatives by the deep roots it plants in the communities where the libraries operate. Our libraries are vibrant centers supported by innovative programming, especially for children and youth. At the heart of this innovation are our librarians.

Riecken Libraries have talented librarians offering dynamic programming to engage young children, teens and adults. And you may see a common theme coming up in our newsletters – our libraries are not just about books and access to technology. They serve as community centers, a meeting ground for exciting programming, community leaders, families and more.

The community libraries also focus on the promotion of health through early childhood reading and nutrition education. This program involves pregnant women, parents and their children under six years old. In a fun and entertaining way, reading skills are combined with lessons on nutrition, such as cooking with fruits and vegetables, nutrition in general, and how to talk about nutrition with their young children.

Our library services are available to anyone who needs them. The community libraries promote a culture of transparency based on the transmission of values and strengthening of organizational skills. Youth also benefit from the libraries by gaining citizenship and leadership skills through local volunteerism.

Building Identity with Children
Building Identity with Children

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