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
Girls' Graduation Ceremony!
Girls' Graduation Ceremony!

Summer marked the completion of the first phase of the pilot with the REDMI and MAIA girls! Graduation ceremonies and celebrations recognized this key milestone--and most importantly the life and educational skills that each girl gained. Working with girls in and out of school provided many opportunities for GIrl Rising (GR) to learn and develop strategies to improve the program--crucial as we seek to expand the pilot to reach more girls, boys and new communities. With GR support, challenges were identified and solutions tested. For example, when attendance of older girls lagged, mostly due to family and work demands, mentors actively sought ways to improve the situation by:

  • Incorporating home visits to engage family members to see the value of this programming
  • Using the appeal and draw of content to create interest. GR witnessed the power of film at one screening where girls of all ages sat still and quiet, captivated by the landscape of Perú and the story of Senna--foreign yet familiar--and inspired by the way Senna, despite the odds, focuses on her studies with her father's encouragement. 
  • Drawing connections between the issues addressed through the stories of girls in the GR curriculum and those facing girls in Guatemala like early preganancy/marriage, child labor, access to education and violence among others. 

This commitment to improving the program was also evidenced in July when GR conducted a closing workshop with mentors from partner REDMI Aq’ab’al. We were able to discuss issues and progress as well as anything related to the final stage of the pilot program, including monitoring and evaluation tools, reporting and particular aspects of the curriculum.

It was also an opportunity to explore the personal stories and trajectories of the mentors, sharing how they got to where they are today, why they feel it’s important to work with girls and adolescents, and how GR’s program has made an impact in the communities where they hold weekly sessions. Some attested to their own difficulties in continuing their education, often due to the need to help support their families. Solidarity and a commitment to continuing this crucial work to advance girls' education was evident. 

When asked about the GR program, mentors said it opened their eyes to the issues faced by girls around the world that they hadn't realized before and developed a greater understanding of the similar challenges that also exist. The GR training and materials facilitated the mentors' growth so that could better deliver the programming to the girls and serve as a resource for them. They shared that both for the girls and themselves, an important step was to open up to new ways of thinking, information and experiences in order to connect with their own stories or those of their families. Mentors and girls explored and wrote life plans as part of the project, and these learnings helped them better integrate experiences and challenges into their plans to help articulate their vision forward. 

GR is finishing the preliminary pilot evaluation to refine materials and delivery for next year's implementation. We are also kicking off September with a much-anticipated storytelling workshop for REDMI girls and look forward to sharing the amazing results in a future report!

Engaged with the GR content
Engaged with the GR content
Mentors with the new Brave Girl Rising flag.
Mentors with the new Brave Girl Rising flag.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
REDMI Aq'ab'al Participants
REDMI Aq'ab'al Participants

During the past three months, the GR Guatemala pilot with our partners REDMI and MAIA has been in full swing, and we are nearing the completion of the sessions.

With both groups, the mentors who lead the sessions report that the girls are identifying with the materials and understanding these issues in the context of their own community. Many of the REDMI participants shared that gender-based violence and forced-labor is something they have witnessed, along with lack of access to education, that resonates the most for them from the stories of other girls from around the world.  

With REDMI, we are working with more girls and a larger age range than anticipated, with approximately 230 girls ages 5 to 16 years, participating in eight rural communities of Nahualá and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán in Sololá. Because REDMI works at the community level, any girls who would like to attend may do so, whether they are in school or not and regardless of their age (although most girls who are participating are between 10 and 12 years of age). Due to home and other responsibilities, it can be difficult for older adolescents to come to sessions, so GR is adapting our resources to be effective with all. The range and number of girls interested has been tremendous, which highlights the need and enthusiasm for this project.

At the MAIA school, girls have discussed the privilege they have of access to education beyond grade 5 and have learned to identify allies and supporters of their education who’ve helped make this possible. This sense of the importance and power of community action for change was seen during one activity where the girls made a paper plane and talked about where they would dream to travel. During this session, one of the 9th grade groups decided to conduct a collective imaginary trip instead of an individual one, "because together we can achieve our goals and dreams, supporting each other and forming a support network.”

In early May, the girls from both groups met with a group of GR staff and board members who were eager to see the project in action. These were special visits for all! At MAIA, GR observed a session with the GR curriculum and also spoke with mentors and students about the pilot program. Additionally, GR staff had the tremendous opportunity to visit the homes and meet the families of two girls with everyone participating in joint learning activities. The girls at the REDMI program in the community of Xeabaj II impressed the GR staff and board with an incredible dramatic play they created and performed. They told the story of one girl and the attitudes and challenges she faced to get an education because of migration of the father and economic difficulties faced by the mother, highlighting the importance of engaging parents and adults to getting girls into school.

Future Plans

As we near the end of the pilot program in July, we have received enthusiastic feedback from the participating mentors and girls and thoughtful recommendations for additional engaging activities to include in the curriculum. The girls participating are eager to explore how to better support other girls in their communities as well as throughout the country. The pilot evaluation and analysis will be completed by August, which will then be used to adjust and improve our curriculum accordingly.

In the future, we are hoping to expand our program to other communities through engaging with more organizations, partners, and schools to reach more students, including male students. Working with MAIA and REDMI has provided valuable insights into the different strategies and ways to work with communities, especially about how to reach girls who are not in school or have limited access to safe spaces.

REDMI Performance for Guests and Community
REDMI Performance for Guests and Community
REDMI Student Performers
REDMI Student Performers
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
REDMI Mentors During Session
REDMI Mentors During Session

In January 2019, Girl Rising started the year with a training with each partner organization: REDMI Aq’ab’al and MAIA.  The mentors were able to watch the two other films that were dubbed to Spanish back in December of 2018, and we took a deeper look at the curriculum, storybook, and Monitoring and Evaluation Tools. The first module focuses on Ruksana, a girl from India, and we discussed issues around informal settlements, forced migration, gender-based violence, and the right to education, but also to art and leisure time.

 

Before starting the module with girls, REDMI’s mentors had meetings at the community level to guarantee the safe space to hold the sessions and did several home visits to inform parents about the program and invite girls to participate. At MAIA, the sessions started almost with the start of the new school year. At the end of January, mentors led an introductory session to describe the program, to get to know the girls and to pass a pre-test on girls’ perceptions around different issues such as child marriage, adolescent pregnancy, violence, life plans and other important issues concerning girls and women. The mentors did a similar pre-test themselves, and at the end of the pilot, both mentors and participants will answer the same questionnaire so we can compare answers around these issues after the 24-week program.

The sessions started in February, and for a month now, the mentors have been meeting with girls on a weekly basis to look at Ruksana’s story in the short film and storybook while reflecting on their own lives and experiences. MAIA is working with 9th graders and will use part of the materials with 7th and 8th graders. REDMI is working at the community level, welcoming all the girls that want to participate, whether they are in school or not, and no matter their age. There is a need for spaces for girls to get together, talk with each other, learn and play.

Currently, the weekly sessions are focusing on Ruksana’s story, and with each session, the mentors are taking note of new participants, of aspects of the stories and materials that are useful and others that need to be strengthened for local use. This will be helpful to edit and change the curriculum for the future, so it’s more contextualized, and we can scale-up to cover more regions of the country.

 

In terms of partnerships, we have continued to hold several meetings and presentations in different spaces, with local and international organizations working in Guatemala, to find ways in which we can collaborate this year and in the near future. There is a lot of work to do in the country around girls' and adolescents’ rights, and it continues to be important to build a stronger network of people and organizations so we can learn from each other and push for more options for girls and women. Some people in congress are trying to push retrograde laws while pushing away laws that are looking to protect girls and adolescents in a more integral way. This year, Guatemala will have elections as well, so in the midst of all this, we need to keep advocating for legal frameworks that protect and promote girls’ rights in everyday life, in the present and the future.




MAIA Mentors with GR Materials
MAIA Mentors with GR Materials
REDMI Mentors 2
REDMI Mentors 2
GR Storybook & Mentor's Curriculum in Spanish
GR Storybook & Mentor's Curriculum in Spanish
REDMI Aq'ab'al Mentors with GR Materials
REDMI Aq'ab'al Mentors with GR Materials
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

With your support these past few months, Girl Rising has prepared for the launch of our Guatemala pilot program in 2019. We’re excited to share with you some highlights of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far!

 

GR’s Guatemala Curriculum is ready to go: GR has just completed the translation of the GR curriculum to Spanish, and we’ve made sure to connect our materials with the national basic curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education of Guatemala. We’ve also adapted curriculum components (videos, discussion guides, storybooks and more) to honor local contexts, customs and cultural norms, and added a brand new story to the GR storybook illustrated by a local artist. We look forward to sharing snapshots of our GR Guatemala curriculum with you soon!

Our partners, mentors and teachers are primed and excited to begin: This past November, GR collaborated with our two local program partners - REDMI Aq’ab’al and Starfish - to host a mentor training session in preparation for our program launch. The session included a screening of four of the GR film chapters tied to the curriculum, a review of the curriculum as a whole and a candid discussion about the tough issues the curriculum highlights (some of which include forced marriage, adolescent pregnancy, sexual violence, forced labor and obstacles to education). In 2019, the mentors from REDMI Aq’ab’al will be ready to reach around 150 girls in eight rural communities (not all of these girls currently attend school, but they will all have access to a safe space to see the films, participate in discussions and explore the GR curriculum). The mentors from Starfish will be ready to engage around 50 girls who are currently enrolled in the 9th grade at their school.

We’re working hard to engage our community and build relationships: We know from experience that for a program to be truly successful, we’ll need the buy-in and support of the adults and the community who surround the girls we’ll be working with. We have thus dedicated significant time to building strong relationships with local partners, and eventually, with parents and community leaders. For this, we have developed tools that allow mentors to clearly explain the program structure and goals, as well as hold community screenings and discussions about some of the issues GR’s films cover.

To lay the groundwork for our larger Guatemala and Central America campaigns, we have been meeting with regional peer organizations who work with adolescents and girls. We’ve learned a tremendous amount and have been honored to be a part of discussions about how to create a more united front to advocate for increased investment in girls’ education.

 

We are just a short month away from the official launch of our pilot program in Guatemala. A heartfelt thank you to all our donors who have supported our work so far - we cannot wait to share more with you soon! In the meantime, on behalf of Girl Rising, we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and New Year.

With gratitude,

María José Aldana

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Girl Rising

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @girlrising
Project Leader:
Catherine Brandli
New York, NY United States
$2,615 raised of $8,500 goal
 
60 donations
$5,885 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Girl Rising has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.