2020 has been the year of the pivot. With each new response to COVID, MAIA aims to keep an eye on our mission and long-term solutions. We have leveraged technology, partnerships, and above all, our local team. This work was made possible by our generous and committed community of support. We all knew Girl Pioneers would grow into transformational leaders. This pandemic simply moved the timeline forward.
Putting Her Education First
The Malala Fund estimates that 20 million more secondary school-age girls could be out of school after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. We are proud to share that the MAIA Impact School has maintained a 100% retention rate so far in 2020.
- When schools closed, only 3 percent of Girl Pioneers had access to internet at home. Virtual classes were not an immediate option. MAIA's team of educators and mentors put together take-home learning packets so Girl Pioneers could continue their education safely.
- Now, 100 percent of our students are participating in virtual classes with data-loaded tablets. Our team of educators has been receiving twice as many hours of professional development to adapt to the new remote learning model.
- Recognizing how fortunate they are to continue their studies during the crisis, Girl Pioneers set up community libraries and hygiene stations in their towns to ensure all youth have access to books and learning materials while schools are closed.
Combating Food Insecurity
Guatemala already experienced the highest levels of chronic malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere. In 2020, the number of people experiencing food insecurity in Guatemala has already doubled due to the extenuating impacts of coronavirus.
- Around the world, food insecurity is a growing problem. In Guatemala, this has almost become a bigger crisis than the actual pandemic. MAIA has delivered over 1,000 food baskets to the families of Girl Pioneers since the pandemic started.
- In May, 20 Girl Pioneers launched a family garden pilot program to model how each family could address many nutritional needs through small-plot organic gardening. Since then, 72 more families have planted their own gardens to sustainably address food insecurity.
- With their own needs met, Girl Pioneers demonstrated their leadership potential by working with local leadership to identify 270 of the most vulnerable households in their communities and set up a program to deliver food support to those who need it most.
Ensuring Access to Critical Information
Guatemala has 24 official languages; however, the coronavirus response and national policies to limit transmission were only made available in Spanish. In March, MAIA recognized this information void and quickly stepped in to ensure equitable access to critical information.
- MAIA responded quickly by creating contextualized videos and radio PSAs in three Maya languages to ensure that MAIA families and the communities where we work would have access to critical information. To date, our videos have over 100,000 views on social media, the radio PSAs have reached over 2 million people, and our model is being replicated by organizations in other parts of Guatemala with teams who speak different Maya languages.
- Graduates of MAIA’s legacy program partnered with the National University, Quetzal University Fund, and community-based nonprofits to create a call center to answer questions and provide resources about the coronavirus in Maya languages.
- Girl Pioneers are now positioning themselves locally and nationally as the voices of their villages. MAIA is designing a journalism program within the Impact School to provide training of Girl Pioneers who can continue to advocate for their communities.
Supporting Healthy Families
The World Bank predicts that over 50 million people in Latin America will fall below the poverty line in 2020, setting poverty reduction in the region back 20 years. In March, when the pandemic arrived in Guatemala, masks were mandated outside the home. However, the economic impact made purchasing masks unattainable for many families.
- MAIA partnered with Humans in Action to deliver masks and hygiene kits to all Girl Pioneers and their families in the 40+ communities in which we work. In total, over 4,000 masks were delivered.
- To further support our families, MAIA and Humans in Action invited mothers to work on mask production by cutting the mask patterns from scrap fabric. MAIA moms cut over 15,000 and earned a fair wage to support their families.
- To ensure they continue earning a dignified income, the mothers are now receiving training on how to further upcycle the fabric scraps into rugs and pillows, which also reduces the waste from mask and clothing production.
When you invest in girls, they earn higher wages and make their own financial decisions, wait to start their families, and have fewer but healthier and better-educated children. Their own health also greatly improves, and they participate in their communities, all of which combine to create a positive ripple effect and break cycles of poverty. Globally, countries that have greater levels of gender equality are safer and more prosperous. Educating girls is also among the top forms of combating climate change. With our 100% model, all donations directly support MAIA students, educators, mentors, and families. A monthly donation is the most sustainable way to create a profound impact and support the bold new trajectory of the MAIA Girl Pioneers at the Impact School. As a monthly donor, 100% of your donation will be invested in unlocking and maximizing the potential of the MAIA Girl Pioneers to become leaders and changemakers.