Girl Pioneer at the Impact School-Ph:Livvy Runyon
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the most vulnerable communities around the globe, girls’ access to education is at risk more than ever. The Malala Foundation estimates that COVID-19 may push 20 million adolescent girls out of school permanently. In Solola, Guatemala a department with 35% youth literacy the opportunity and access to quality education is a challenge. This 2021 we welcomed the 5th generation of Girl Pioneers at the MAIA Impact School. They started their first day of school with a hybrid model that has been in diverse changes throughout the first six months of the year by Government restrictions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. We’ve adapted changes to our hybrid model by giving virtual and in person classes to 236 Girl Pioneers.
In the last few weeks the restrictions within the department have changed due to the increase of cases in the area, the Girl Pioneers have virtual classes at the moment. This hasn’t stoped them from sharing and creating change within their lives, families and communities. Back in 2019 Marisol a 10th grader at the MAIA Impact School won first place in the Ella Impacta competition organized by Vital Voices Guatemala, receiving seed funding for her Family Gardens project. She started by providing five mothers from her community with workshops and support of basic information in regards of building their own organic garden. At first it was difficult for her to lead the implementation of this project since she had no knowledge of how to start. Thanks to Senacri, an association that works with Creole and native seeds, preserving agricultural history, Marisol was able to give seeds to families and the project started. The mothers who where part of the workshops were very innovative and curious in each workshop, they asked questions and participated. Due to COVID-19 families in rural areas were affected by an increase in unemployment, lack of economic activity, poor diets, and the double increase in malnutrition in the country. That is why the Family Gardens project impacted the families in Marisol’s community they were able to take advantage of the land in their homes to grow some herbs and vegetables such as radish, peppers, cilantro, and others. Marisol’s leadership showcases the importance of supporting young women with the correct tools to learn, grow and take action in their lives.
We’ve developed a vaccination campaign by sharing reliable information of what a vaccine is in Kaqchikel, K’iche, and Tz'utujil the main languages within the department of Solola. This message has been shared in our social media platforms and local tv channels. This initiative started in 2020 by sharing information about the COVID-19 virus. The Maya communities need this vital information in their languages to take into account their unique rural context, they have the tools they need to take realistic steps against the propagation of this disease and put less strain on an already fragile medical system. In Guatemala the access to vaccines against the COVID-19 are not yet available for all of the population. We’ve started to share basic information so our communities understand and are prepared when access to the vaccines against the COVID-19 becomes a reality.
Marisol a Girl Pioneer at the MAIA Impact School
Communications team recording informational videos
Marisol leading a workshop with community members.