Aug 2, 2021

Updates on Future Rising

In April 2021, we launched Future Rising, our new storytelling and educational program focused on the links between girls’ education and climate change. Our goal is to tell stories that illuminate the experiences of girls and women — stories about the disproportionate impact, and critically the stories of girls who are exercising their power to tackle the effects of climate change. 

We had originally considered making a feature film, but two things altered our thinking. First, we understand the urgency of this conversation — it is happening now. The two years it would take to create the film would put a significant delay in the imperative to make known the links between girls’ education and climate change. Secondly, we have been researching and considering the ways people consume content today. The cultural landscape has evolved greatly especially over the last few years, which is why we are working on a strategy that ‘atomizes’ our storytelling - editing films and stories into smaller components and optimizing them for various digital platforms. We want to surface a flow of powerful narratives and present them to the cultural slipstream. 

One of our initiatives under the Future Rising program is our Future Rising Fellows. The Future Rising Fellowship is a six-month fellowship for individuals aged 17-24 who are working on environmental justice storytelling and/or activism with a focus on girls and women. Our goal is to support this cohort with resources, mentoring, and network development. Each Fellow will be paired up with a mentor and realize their project in the span of the fellowship. 

The Fellowship received over 200 applicants from 37 countries, showing depth and range of talent from individuals who are executing such creative leadership in addressing climate change. After careful consideration, we are so excited to announce that we have finalized our inaugural cohort of Future Rising Fellows — 11 incredible individuals who have vastly different experiences and share many things in common, including a profound commitment to girls' education and to forging pathways to a more sustainable and equitable future. The fellowship will begin mid-August and we look forward to sharing more updates with you in the coming months. 

Links:

Jul 16, 2021

What 2021 has brought for Girl Rising Guatemala

Mentor Juana at one of the home visits
Mentor Juana at one of the home visits

Girl Rising re-launched our radio program this year and is excited to learn more about improving our reach despite COVID. Mentors first met up with community authorities to talk about the program and plans for the year. Mentors also finished home visits, inviting girls to listen in and talk to their parents about the program. They passed pre-test surveys with participants, as well as a small questionnaire to understand access to technology, radio, and smartphones, and whether girls attended school in 2020, and if they are attending this year. 

We are using the same pre-recorded show from last year, with key messages around emotional health, the importance of education, and the implications of the COVID pandemic for education and for girls specifically. This year, we will also share the show via WhatsApp in three 20-minute long messages to cover the whole hour each week — in addition to the radio stations and Facebook live — to make it more accessible to some participants. We are working in eight new communities in Sololá and Totonicapán through our partner REDMI Aq’ab’al, along with new girls in two communities where we have worked before. 

Printed radio booklets and storybooks were distributed with other materials like crayons and pencils. The radio show will also be part of one of our partner’s certificates on human rights for adolescents at the school of EPRODEP in Guatemala. We want to keep exploring and developing new ways to reach more participants with our materials and complement our partners’ ongoing programs, continuing to provide information and activities for young people to do at home. 

This year we are also strengthening our network of organizations RINA, the incidence network for girls and adolescents. We were able to meet up in person after many months of weekly online calls, with all the precautions and options to take care of each other. The plan was to polish our mission, vision and values as a network, and most importantly, start delineating activities we want to do in 2021. We worked on a plan for our radio show, Alzando Nuestras Voces, that premiered April 9th. On a monthly basis, we have a topic to discuss and members of different organizations that form our network either speak from experience, invite speakers or work on the script.

The idea is to host a show that covers diverse topics of interest to young women. The radio shows so far have covered topics such as the meaning and history of international women’s day, the role of social work at the community level, and fatherhood and new masculinities. We will cover other topics including financial literacy, cultural diversity and youth, and political participation of youth.

Pre-test surveys with some program participants
Pre-test surveys with some program participants
Mar 18, 2021

Girl Rising's Cambiando Mi Mundo Radio Program

As part of Girl Rising’s ongoing emergency COVID-19 response, we adapted our local Guatemala curriculum and transformed it into a radio program, Cambiando Mi Mundo (Changing My World), reaching those without internet access.  

When COVID-19 hit and schools closed their doors, for many of the girls in our programs, staying at home meant taking on more household chores, and less chance of going back to school. It also meant not being able to meet up and interact with their peers. To ensure that girls did not fall permanently behind, Cambiando Mi Mundo brings key messages and activities around education into their homes. 

To reach girls at the community level that are not necessarily in school, radio was the perfect choice of medium as 94% of households in Guatemala own radios, compared to less than 40% of Guatemalans having full access to the internet. Radio messaging was also a way for us to reach a wider population of girls and families. Each episode of the radio program was shared via Facebook.

The program invites listeners to hear Girl Rising stories in Spanish and two Mayan languages, along with music by indigenous women, key messages by teachers, mentors, and parents, providing a space to imagine, share their own experiences and thoughts. Alongside the radio lessons, students receive a printed storybook and booklet which encourages experiential and activity-based learning, including emotional tools and ideas to process the pandemic and its implications, as well as difficult topics related to gender and violence. 

Recorded Cambiando Mi Mundo programs are promoted through radio spots and are aired on two radio stations that cover four of the five regions where Girl Rising Guatemala works. We are working with FGER, the Guatemalan Federation of School Radios that works with local communities and indigenous communicators in different territories of the country. The official launch was September 5, 2020, continuing on to mid-December. At the same time, the show was transmitted via Facebook live through the FGER radio page and the Cambiando Mi Mundo Facebook group, reaching approximately 800 people through this alone.

While the initial programming focuses on educational programming to supplement or take the place of Girl Rising in-person sessions, looking to the future, Girl Rising plans to develop additional community radio programs. In the short term, we will continue to transmit the pre-recorded program via radio and Facebook, and this year it will be available via audio clips to be sent via WhatsApp as well. In the mid-term, the goal is the radio show to be led by and feature indigenous girls and their mentors or teachers, with the freedom of being conducted in local languages. 

This programming will provide an opportunity for girls to tell their own stories to fellow girls, share messages that resonate with them, and address the local community around them. Girls will also gain important communication and production skills. Together, we will continue finding options for adolescents to have spaces to use their powerful voices the way they want to.

Marleni working on her radio booklet
Marleni working on her radio booklet
Printed books are used to complement the program
Printed books are used to complement the program
Maria Elena, Irene, Jenifer and Linda
Maria Elena, Irene, Jenifer and Linda

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