Provide Life Skills for 4000 Rural Mayan Girls

by Population Council
mentors and tutors
mentors and tutors

If you have been a friend and supporter of Abriendo Oportunidades for a while, you may remember that mentors in Chisec secured an agreement with the mayor of that municipality. The agreement included City Hall donating a copier for the mentors new office, which is in a municipal building where they can work rent-free.  The copier finally made it to Chisec. It will make everyone's work much easier and less expensive!  

The Population Council's team and a group of education specialists also wrapped up the preparation of the integrated textbook for our program that focuses on providing access to secondary education. Abriendo participants in some communities have the option of completing middle school through our Flexible Modalities program. This program requires certification by the Ministry of Education. Our partnership with the MoE includes our contribution to the program through the preparation of the core textbook.  This month we are celebrating our new books too!

Please remember that all donations until Christmas will be doubled!

Thank you everyone for supporting us!

New textbooks!
New textbooks!
Mentor visits family garden
Mentor visits family garden

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.

Chisec mentors with their approved municipal plan
Chisec mentors with their approved municipal plan

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.

Mentors take a break in Peten
Mentors take a break in Peten
Abriendo secondary education group
Abriendo secondary education group

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.

Young participant speaking in public.
Young participant speaking in public.

As the International day of the Girl Child, is taken place today, we are happy to share with you this weekends experience during our first Soccer "Abriendo" Tournament in San Luis, Petén. More than 120 girls and boys had the chance to experience an interschool championship, which gather them together in an event where girls had a very important participation, something that is not very common when it comes to soccer.


This event was made possible through joint efforts between mentors, community leaders, and school teachers who worked together to make it possible. In Abriendo, we believe that specific joint efforts must be made by different and relevant members of society, to compromise with the big challenges that gir's vulnerability still have in our country and the world. We feel happy to show proof that with great efforts, results can be possible.




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Organization Information

Population Council

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Alejandra Colom Bickford
Guatemala City, Guatemala
$50,492 raised of $75,000 goal
719 donations
$24,508 to go
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