Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala

by Girl Rising
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Promoting Girls' Education & Equality in Guatemala
Mentor Juana at one of the home visits
Mentor Juana at one of the home visits

Girl Rising re-launched our radio program this year and is excited to learn more about improving our reach despite COVID. Mentors first met up with community authorities to talk about the program and plans for the year. Mentors also finished home visits, inviting girls to listen in and talk to their parents about the program. They passed pre-test surveys with participants, as well as a small questionnaire to understand access to technology, radio, and smartphones, and whether girls attended school in 2020, and if they are attending this year. 

We are using the same pre-recorded show from last year, with key messages around emotional health, the importance of education, and the implications of the COVID pandemic for education and for girls specifically. This year, we will also share the show via WhatsApp in three 20-minute long messages to cover the whole hour each week — in addition to the radio stations and Facebook live — to make it more accessible to some participants. We are working in eight new communities in Sololá and Totonicapán through our partner REDMI Aq’ab’al, along with new girls in two communities where we have worked before. 

Printed radio booklets and storybooks were distributed with other materials like crayons and pencils. The radio show will also be part of one of our partner’s certificates on human rights for adolescents at the school of EPRODEP in Guatemala. We want to keep exploring and developing new ways to reach more participants with our materials and complement our partners’ ongoing programs, continuing to provide information and activities for young people to do at home. 

This year we are also strengthening our network of organizations RINA, the incidence network for girls and adolescents. We were able to meet up in person after many months of weekly online calls, with all the precautions and options to take care of each other. The plan was to polish our mission, vision and values as a network, and most importantly, start delineating activities we want to do in 2021. We worked on a plan for our radio show, Alzando Nuestras Voces, that premiered April 9th. On a monthly basis, we have a topic to discuss and members of different organizations that form our network either speak from experience, invite speakers or work on the script.

The idea is to host a show that covers diverse topics of interest to young women. The radio shows so far have covered topics such as the meaning and history of international women’s day, the role of social work at the community level, and fatherhood and new masculinities. We will cover other topics including financial literacy, cultural diversity and youth, and political participation of youth.

Pre-test surveys with some program participants
Pre-test surveys with some program participants
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As part of Girl Rising’s ongoing emergency COVID-19 response, we adapted our local Guatemala curriculum and transformed it into a radio program, Cambiando Mi Mundo (Changing My World), reaching those without internet access.  

When COVID-19 hit and schools closed their doors, for many of the girls in our programs, staying at home meant taking on more household chores, and less chance of going back to school. It also meant not being able to meet up and interact with their peers. To ensure that girls did not fall permanently behind, Cambiando Mi Mundo brings key messages and activities around education into their homes. 

To reach girls at the community level that are not necessarily in school, radio was the perfect choice of medium as 94% of households in Guatemala own radios, compared to less than 40% of Guatemalans having full access to the internet. Radio messaging was also a way for us to reach a wider population of girls and families. Each episode of the radio program was shared via Facebook.

The program invites listeners to hear Girl Rising stories in Spanish and two Mayan languages, along with music by indigenous women, key messages by teachers, mentors, and parents, providing a space to imagine, share their own experiences and thoughts. Alongside the radio lessons, students receive a printed storybook and booklet which encourages experiential and activity-based learning, including emotional tools and ideas to process the pandemic and its implications, as well as difficult topics related to gender and violence. 

Recorded Cambiando Mi Mundo programs are promoted through radio spots and are aired on two radio stations that cover four of the five regions where Girl Rising Guatemala works. We are working with FGER, the Guatemalan Federation of School Radios that works with local communities and indigenous communicators in different territories of the country. The official launch was September 5, 2020, continuing on to mid-December. At the same time, the show was transmitted via Facebook live through the FGER radio page and the Cambiando Mi Mundo Facebook group, reaching approximately 800 people through this alone.

While the initial programming focuses on educational programming to supplement or take the place of Girl Rising in-person sessions, looking to the future, Girl Rising plans to develop additional community radio programs. In the short term, we will continue to transmit the pre-recorded program via radio and Facebook, and this year it will be available via audio clips to be sent via WhatsApp as well. In the mid-term, the goal is the radio show to be led by and feature indigenous girls and their mentors or teachers, with the freedom of being conducted in local languages. 

This programming will provide an opportunity for girls to tell their own stories to fellow girls, share messages that resonate with them, and address the local community around them. Girls will also gain important communication and production skills. Together, we will continue finding options for adolescents to have spaces to use their powerful voices the way they want to.

Marleni working on her radio booklet
Marleni working on her radio booklet
Printed books are used to complement the program
Printed books are used to complement the program
Maria Elena, Irene, Jenifer and Linda
Maria Elena, Irene, Jenifer and Linda

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Girl Rising and our Program Partners have been working urgently to adapt our program delivery to the new circumstances of the lockdowns caused by the pandemic and to respond to the needs of girls and young women in the community.

- We developed and are now delivering a community radio program to deliver or curriculum teaching life skills, growth mindsets, knowledge of rights, self-advocacy and leadership to hundreds of young people in three regions.

- We have built new partnerships with community organizations to deliver home-learning materials in different local languages

- We have led training workshops for mentors on Girl Rising curriculum, gender issues and M&E

- We have provided monthly stipends for the mentors in partner programs as well as transportation so they can get to the communities where they facilitate sessions

- We continue to work on translation and dubbing of the Girl Rising films into Mayan languages, which will be done in early 2020

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MAIA Student project art
MAIA Student project art

Immediately after GIrl Rising's last report, Guatemala went into lockdown on March 16th, restricting movement and travel (including shut down of public transportation) across the country, with restrictions on gatherings, school and market closures and mandatory curfews and use of masks in public. These measures remain with devasting effects throughout Guatemala, but we continue to work to meet the needs of the youth we serve by: 

  • Working with partners on adapting Girl Rising (GR) materials and activities, including storytelling, for different digital and at-home learning contexts.

  • Providing partners with funding to secure and distribute basic food and supplies for program families as well as support for partner communication costs/needs to stay connected with youth and with GR.

  • Developing radio programming to deliver GR stories and materials to program participants in three regions. In addition to GR-focused content, we aim to include key information on the COVID-19 pandemic, including its socio-economic implications, as well as mental health and self-care strategies. These broadcasts will also reach a wider audience of girls, boys and community members with GR's powerful gender-equality messaging and resources. 

  • Building alliances with other NGOs in Guatemala through digital platforms and advocacy initiatives; sharing COVID-19-related information and GR educational materials in different languages with these networks. 

  • Finalizing, with radio partner FGER, the dubbing of films in K’iche’ & Kaqchikel. 

During these challenging times, it is wonderful to see the commitment of our partners to their communities as well as how quickly and creatively they’ve worked to meet the increasing needs of program youth. As things are in constant flux, we will provide updates as possible of ways we continue to adapt our work. 



EPRODEP student project participant
EPRODEP student project participant
EPRODEP student participant
EPRODEP student participant
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Teachers & principals viewing GR film content
Teachers & principals viewing GR film content

In 2020, GR is excited to build on the pilot with returning partners MAIA and REDMI Aq’ab’al and broaden the scope, both geographically and demographically, with new partners COINCIDIR, Colegio Miguel Ángel Asturias and EPRODEP. This will bring the project to new communities (Totonicapán, Quetzaltenango, Jalapa and Guatemala City) reaching an estimated 500 youth, ages 8-17, as well as parents, family and community members. This year we’ll also work with teachers and principals in addition to mentors. 

Based on evaluation results and partner feedback, we revised the curriculum, including using photos from Guatemala and updating country content. Supplementary materials were enhanced by creating a colored booklet version of the storybook, provided to each participant, and editing a short video featuring girls from the first pilot and storytelling workshop talking about their future aspirations. With the completion of the dubbing of the six short films into K’iche’ and Kaqchikel, we can better connect with parents and community members, potentially using the films for community screenings, discussions and teacher-parent meetings. 

All partners began programming with participants during the past few weeks. During MAIA’s first session, one student shared, “We can be the change if we propose to be so, but we have to start with ourselves and then help others.”




Updated GR Curriculum for Guatemala
Updated GR Curriculum for Guatemala
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Organization Information

Girl Rising

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @girlrising
Project Leader:
Catherine Brandli
New York, NY United States
$2,555 raised of $8,500 goal
 
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