Mentors in Chisec have been working with girls and their families to develop vegetable and herb gardens. This is part of their initiative to work with girls to generate some income, while expanding families' food choices. The strategy also includes bringing back traditional plants that are now scarce due to the rapid landuse change in the region. As in other aspects of Abriendo, mentors' play a key role in ensuring that girls and their families get the support necessary to succeed.
Ongoing donations through Global Giving have helped the Council provide continous support to the Chisec mentors network. Lessons learned from this experience will allow us to frame upcoming community activities in the department of Sololá, where another group of highly motivated and committed mentors are just beginning girl groups in 20 communities.
Thank you once more for your committment to their excellent work.
We are thrilled to report a series of successful activities in Chisec. Mentors in Chisec completed their training in December 2015. A group of them decided to continue working on a voluntary basis to expand the girl clubs to new communities. Their efforts to engage the newly elect mayor of Chisec, Selvin Reyes, have resulted in the first ever municipal plan that includes specific budget lines and activities to support girls and adolescents. Mayor Reyes committed to fund 35% of the annual budget for mentors' activities. He also provided mentors with an office free of rent where they have now established their headquarters. He also invited Abriendo mentors to be part of the Municipal Development Council. These councils are usually male-dominated, so mentors have taken on the important role of making women's contribution to development plans more relevant.
As always, all funds raised through Global Giving go directly to field activities. Your generous contributions have allowed us to continue matching mentors' efforts. We are very grateful for your committment to the sustainability of these groups of brave young women.
On the western side of the country, the AO mentor network in Totonicapán continue using Global Giving donations to produce beautiful bracelets for sale in the U.S. Mentors in Totonicapán invest the majority of the funds generated from bracelets to expand activities with girls and their mothers.
Mentors across Guatemala continue combining their passion for girls rights with locally generated evidence. This makes them unique contributors to improving the lives of girls and adolescent girls in rural communities. Thank you for being part of this effort.
We want to begin 2016 by thanking everyone who has generously contributed to Abriendo Oportunidades. The donations have increased and we are happy to report that these funds will allow us to
- Continue supporting the work in Chisec: Mentors and girls graduated after two years of committed work and dedication. Mentors were invited by the newly elected mayor of Chisec to continue working with girls in the municipality. He committed about $12,000 to support their anual work plan. Global Giving donations will help add to the pool of resources that we hope will come to the necessary $27,000 to keep activities in 21 communities. We are very proud of Chisec mentors, who have developed a comprehensive plan to remain active change makers in their communities. Their goals include encouraging girls to stay or return to school, erradicate child marriage, and increase women's access to reproductive health information annd services.
- Cover logistical costs necessary to increase the presence of our staff and key partners in the most distant communities in Petén: Abriendo is the only program currently reaching girls in 99 communities in Southern Petén. Mentors travel up to 3 hours to reach communities, traveling through mud, rain, dust and heat. Some communities have requested assistance in reducing violence against women and girls. This means organizing trips with key partners such as the Office for the Defense of Indigenous Women and members of the Reproductive Health Observatory. All of these efforts fit into our strategy to erradicate child marriage. Petén is teaching us much about the importance of secondary education as a means not only to improve adolescent girls' opportunities, but as a safe space where they can make decisions regarding their life.
- Build a solid sustainability strategy to help graduate mentors continue developing the Abriendo model in new communities.
Thank you again for believing in Abriendo and supporting mentors, girls, and communities in rural Guatemala.
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