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 Education  Peru Project #35161

Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development

by Visionaria Network
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Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development
Engage 88 Youth Visions for community development

In 2019, Visionaria reached over 1,200 students and supported over 100 teams of students in 30 different partner schools in Cusco, Peru.

By supporting this project, you allowed us to add 2 more partner schools and reach 88 more young leaders. By bringing Visionaria to these students in public-secondary schools, they were asked - many for the first time - to reflect on their goals and visions for themselves and the world around them.

Our local team continues to aggregate and process data from each classrooms and student teams (the school year ends next week!), and we will be preparing reports and amplifying their calls to action in the coming months to influence district government officials and other key stakeholders identified by students. 

These young leaders are serious, and standing up to some serious problems.

Like Janet, for example, who leads a team focused on combatting domestic violence. She knows her neighbor is abusive to his wife, and is concerned about the impacts it has on young people and bullying. With Visionaria, she was able to explore existing anti-violence projects and inform her peers about options and ways to seek help from local authorities.

Or Ruth, who leads a student team focused on human-caused forest fires in the hills that were particularly dangerous this year due to a growing drought. “One of my friends was seriously affected this year – his house burned downed, his animals were killed, he was left with nothing.”

 Thank you for making this project and transformation possible. Students are not taking the opportunity for granted – and they are beginning to see their potential thanks to innovative programs like Visionaria.

ALSO, you should know… Not only did you transform education for these 88 young leaders, but you helped to build a movement with educators to transform education for all students in Cusco with Visionaria. It’s happening, with more demand from teachers and educational authorities than we have capacity for we are hard at work planning our program and strategy for 2020 that looks towards long-term adoption and local investment in our teacher training and student-leader support program.

Watch our 2019 program video and hear from teachers themselves about what Visionaria means for public education and young people in the Andes.

Visit to learn more about how to help more Andean youth lead in their lives and communities. 


Paul & the entire Visionaria team


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Percy in Umachurco (Calca Province)
Percy in Umachurco (Calca Province)

Percy is a civics and history teacher in Umachurco (Anta) who is getting great results from Visionaria for Schools program.

For the first time, his 9th grade students are looking beyond their current difficult circumstances to think about their positive qualities, their futures, and are achieving high marks in the civics class as a result. It turns out that asking students what they want for themselves and their future can be fun, and get them focused on what matters.

Percy can focus on his students more too, knowing that  Visionaria grading tools and training have helped Percy to justify the higher grades to his skeptical principal who has a hard time believing that students with poor marks in math, reading, and history, could be getting high marks in the “personal and civic development” course. It’s no mystery, Percy credits the Visionaria curriculum and support he’s received to uncover the potential of his students, and substantiate his teaching quality in the process.

Visionaria grew out of the realization that women and girls who are supposed to benefit from international development projects are too often left out of their design. So we wanted to bring the design questions to students in schools, by creating a movement WITH teachers. As our Regional Director Paola Saldivias commented, "it’s important to be able to achieve a 'mindshift' among even the most skeptical teachers and parents. They often want students to focus on math and science, and not these ‘softer’ skills. But we show them the importance of developing youth leadership and addressing potentially harmful gender norms in the process." Percy's classroom is a great example of how Visionaria can really energize classroom hours and students who are ready to pursue their potential!

Umachurco from Above
Umachurco from Above


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JUNE 2019
Director Update

[Note: This update was also sent to our newsletter recipients in JUNE]

What I love most about the Visionaria program model is when young people propose something totally unexpected to tackle a problem that they care about.

Earlier this year, students from one of the four teams who won our “Leader with a Vision” prize put their heads together about how to reinforce the message to their peers that alcohol consumption is both hazardous and costly.
Alexander, Jenner, Josias and Jafet proposed creating a radio spot, but then also asked their mentor if they might do something a little less expected: host a soccer tournament.  
¡Campeonato relámpago de fútbol "Jóvenes Libres de Alcohol"!
While it’s too early to know whether or not their efforts will reduce alcohol consumption among young people – we can report that administrators and community members are happy with the increased visibility and messaging. A local radio station liked the radio spot so much that they granted free airtime for several months to run it. And their school is considering making the “anti-alcohol soccer tournament” an annual affair.

Ever since the first Visionaria leadership programs in Cusco in 2013, we have worked with young people to develop and improve initiatives in their communities. After brainstorming problems with young women, we introduce existing solutions and bring in local professionals to share their experience, before leaving it entirely up to the team of young leaders to decide what they think will work best.

In late 2016, we started to adapt this approach for the secondary public-school system, successfully creating and approving our curriculum with education authorities for the regular “Personal and Civic Development” course area.

This is not only a fantastic learning experience that prepares them for future work, but also improves community relations and moves the needle on tricky community challenges.

After all, persistent local problems require novel local solutions. At Visionaria, we’re making sure young people’s visions are part of the way forward.
In 2018, we created the “Leader with a Vision” prize. This is a small grant program available to students in public schools who have gone through the Visionaria course, taught by teachers trained and supported in the Visionaria for Schools program.

The prize allows secondary school students to propose a bigger project, participate in a 3-day leadership program to develop their plan further, and execute their plan with a mentor. They are naturally constrained by a small budget (~$300), a short timeline (~4 weeks), and the patience of their mentor – but after that, they are free to propose whatever activities they think will work best.

Thank you to all of our supporters and partners for their investments in education and youth-led sustainable development in Peru!

We are humbled and inspired by the potential for young people to get meaningfully involved in the sustainable development of their communities.
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Thanks to YOUR support Visionaria will reach and support 2 additional rural provincial schools in Peru in 2019. 

We are in conversations with the corresponding provincial ministries of education who oversee over 100 secondary schools in the mountains and valleys of the Cusco state of Peru, and join their excitement in expanding the Visionaria program. 

In 2018 through the VFS program, we improved the quality of education for 500+ students. Furthermore, these students' developed sustainable development initiatives that are reaching 3,000+ community members and tackling a wide variety of problems including:

  • Lack of water for agricultural irrigation
  • Alcohol consumption and addiction
  • River pollution
  • Dangerous transportation and reckless driving
  • Illegal deforestation of native trees
  • Theft of livestock

We are still collecting end of year data, but it's clear that young people are motivated and perceptive when it comes to solving old and new challenges. 

Some additional things we are excited about to end the year:

  • We hosted a conversation series with past Visionarias to talk about the skills and experiences that they have found most helpful now that they are 3+ years past secondary school in order to inform the VfS program moving forward.
  • Visionaria coaches have helped student teams navigate interviews with different community leaders as they tackle local problems.
  • We hosted a celebration dinner to close out the school year with our various education partners and network in Cusco. Teachers implementing the VfS program were awarded professional development credit, certified by the ministry of Anta and Visionaria Network, for their completion of the Visionaria for Schools program in 2018.

More updates to come as we process the final weeks' work samples and surveys. Follow along via our website, newsletter, and facebook pages.


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Team Visionaria, Cusco 2018
Team Visionaria, Cusco 2018

We are now supporting over 46 student teams (and counting!), as well as their teachers who have integrated the Visionaria program into regular class-time in select schools in the Anta Province of Cusco, Peru. (Check this map – can you spot Machu Picchu?)
Some of the problems students have chosen may seem far away… like “the illegal burning and clearing of forest” or “thievery of livestock”, but other topics ring closer to home: “domestic violence and mistreatment of children” or “discrimination based on physical differences” or a “lack of fixed and steady work”. (You can see the full updated list of 2018 project topics on our website here)
While we do not expect small student teams to solve these persistent problems in one go… we DO expect them to interact with local leaders and current initiatives, and (in confident teenager fashion) advocate for new and improved solutions based upon their own experiences and insights.
The entire experience is not only a GREAT way to meet teaching and learning goals, but it also helps to raise aspirations and community expectations for what young people are capable of. 
In these rural districts, it is very rare for young people (15-19yrs), especially young women, to be seen interviewing and joining to solve problems with other community members and leaders. We are both humbled and excited to be able to hear and support their visions for the future through Visionaria for Schools. 
Many more updates to come, as student projects pick up speed for the second-half of the Peruvian school year!


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Organization Information

Visionaria Network

Location: Lafayette, CO - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Visionaria_Net
Project Leader:
Paul Spurzem
Lafayette, CO United States
$7,054 raised of $8,800 goal
58 donations
$1,746 to go
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