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

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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Storytelling & Film Workshop participants
Storytelling & Film Workshop participants

Since the first session of the pilot project ended this summer, Girl Rising Guatemala has been busy reviewing and incorporating evaluation results and planning for the second cohort of participants. 

To help with the creation of new content and expand the work with girls, in mid-September, we invited alumnae—girls who took part in Year 1—to participate in a workshop that guided the girls through the process of capturing their own compelling personal narratives on camera, told in their local languages with the goal of also developing their storytelling skills. Select content will be integrated into the curricula to give voice to local girls facing local challenges, with the aim to provide inspiration and encouragement to other girls in their communities. We look forward to seeing and sharing the girls' reactions and the impact of this localized content for the program. 

In 2020, GR will continue to work with our current partners and also start working with two others in different regions of the country: COINCIDIR in Jalapa, working with adolescent girls at the community level and EPRODEP, an organization that works with girls and boys in their schools in the outskirts of Guatemala City. With the second cohort, we intend to extend the project to new and greater numbers of girls as well as include boys, parents and community leaders to begin to shift gender attitudes and create awareness about how educating girls is proven to benefit and improve the stability and health of communities. We look forward to sharing the details in the new year!



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Girl Rising

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @girlrising
Project Leader:
Catherine Brandli
New York, NY United States
$2,615 raised of $8,500 goal
 
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