In the last report we told you about our plans of expanding the program to reach more girls in new communities. Plans have slightly changed; the implementation of Abriendo Oportunidades® in seven new isolated communities in western Guatemala had to be paused due to the current political climate (state of siege). We hope to reach these girls in the near future. However, our mission to empower girls continues with the implementation of the program in 8 new communities; in Alta Verapaz, central Guatemala and Quiche, the quiche indigenous group was the worst hit of all the indigenous groups of Guatemala during the thirty-year war.
Reaching these girls involved the establishment of a new alliance with K’wa and REDMI Aq’ab’al. K’wa is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote the survival skills and dignity of vulnerable populations, especially girls and adolescents impacted by violence and poverty. They implement educational programs in rural communities that are scarcely served. While REDMI Aq’ab’al is a network of mentors graduated from Abriendo Oportunidades®, they have received funding from the Population Council and other organizations. Their main goal is to prioritize the needs of girls, adolescents and young women from rural areas of the Western Highlands of Guatemala.
Their expertise will allow the well-adapted implementation of the programs’ different spin-offs, designed to satisfy the girls’ diverse contexts and needs. We will set up mentor led girl groups where participants will be learning about human rights, financial education, gender-based violence, self-esteem, life-planning and technology. They will spend time playing and learning, while constructing a strong network of young women leaders in the community. This is the power of your donation. We hope to continue having you as part of the Abriendo Oportunidades® team. None of this would be possible without your help.
Population Council team in Guatemala has been busy preparing to expand work with 500 girls between the ages of 8 and 24 in seven new isolated communities in western Guatemala. Our goal is to help girls, adolescents and young women have a safer transition to adulthood . We will be setting up mentor led girl groups where participants will be learning about their human rights, financial education, gender-based violence and self-esteem. Girls and adolescent girls will spend time playing and setting bonds amongst each other while becoming a strong network of young women leaders in the community.
As part of the Abriendo Oportunidades strategy to support secondary education for Rural Maya adolescent girls and young women we will set up eight new alternative secondary education schools in these communities. We have had the privilege to meet with education authorities in the region who are champions for girls education and prevention of child marriage. And our first encounter with over 20 community leaders was a success. Many communities are getting ready for the beginning of the project in October 2019 setting up community venues that will turn into safe spaces and alternative secondary education classrooms.
Thanks for helping us reach more girls, more places, more opportunities and long term results.
The technology projects carried out by Makerspaces were presented. They were guided in their learning process by an innovative mentor, Feliciana Jaminez.
This space is conformed by girls and adolescents empowered through technology. It has allowed them to learn about programming platforms and activities with computer kits.The objective of this space has been to provide the tools and skills for the development of computational thinking and the design of electronic devices.
Some of their projects include: an electronic circuit that turns on a LED light, sensors that measure the temperature of the body, a safe with a security code and an automatized irrigation system.
April has not brought more than good news for Abriendo Oportunidades. In this report we want to tell you, our GlobalGiving community, about the outstanding role Claudia Macz (AO mentor and associate of Na'leb'ak organization) took in the Economic and Social Council Youth Forum in the United Nations. Claudia, a q'eq'chi Maya woman, traveled to New York with UN Women Guatemala to talk about the needs of thousands of indigenous women in Guatemala and Latin America. She also raised the visibility of girls and adolescents in the communities of Alta Verapaz, where she works.
In addition, Claudia held and directed an online seminar at the Population Council headquarters, where she discussed the role of community based organizations in responding to the status of rural girls in Guatemala. Congratulations Claudia! And thanks to all of you who make it possible for there to be more and more repsentation on indigenous young women in decision-making spaces. We know that the impact of these activities, combined with the excellent work that the networks are doing for girls and adolescents, will make the difference.
By now you may know that Abriendo Oportunidades program has worked for over 15 years in Guatemala, reaching nearly 15,000 girls and adolescents and over 400 young indigenous mentors. Abriendo has created a community of women that see the value on staying together to sustain positive change for girls at the community level, and now have stablished themselves as non-governmental organizations. A new movement has started.
So this month we reunited with some of AO alumni to get to know what they are up to, what are their aspirations and goals for the future. Some of them are part of the mentor-led organizations, some others are not. This opportunity to reconnect allowed us to listen to their experiences, intertwine them, and detect points of encounter and divergence between them. Some of the participants of this first meeting are now community leaders, some of them have become midwives, some of them are now graduating college. Nevertheless, they still have to face barriers imposed for indigenous women and that is the challenge. We are actively working to listen more, and support mentors' in their journey to become autonomous and overcoming those barriers.
This is only possible with the help of our GlobalGiving donors, so thank you from all of us at Abriendod Oportunidades. Stay with us for more news about the Abriendo movement in the months to come. We know there are great things to come.
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