Dedicated to Building Sustainable Communities

In the blog Summary of the Guate Groundswell Program, I briefly mentioned the workshops that have been implemented within our communities in Guatemala.

These workshops help our young leaders to develop life skills that complement the support provided to their academics. Today I want to tell you in more detail about those workshops.

I’d like to begin with Girl Rising. Girl Rising is a global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment. They use the power of storytelling to change the way the world sees and values girls. Also, they launch high profile campaigns to bring visibility to the issues girls face and inspire people to dismantle the barriers that hold them back.

According to the Human Development Reports, Guatemala Ranks 126 in the Gender Inequality Index.  The disadvantages facing women and girls are a major source of inequality. All too often, women and girls are discriminated against in health, education, political representation, labor market, etc.—with negative consequences for the development of their capabilities and their freedom of choice (GII, 2020).

The Guate Groundswell Initiative seeks to encourage and promote among our mentors an inclusive community, aware of the importance of gender equality to promote a society free of stereotypes yet empowered to work together to obtain better and more equitable results. It is worth mentioning that ⅔ of our mentors are girls and women reflecting the focus our initiative has on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

SOS Involvement with Girl Rising

Gender Equality Workshop

After a few months of coordination. In October we launched the training with Girl Rising about Gender Equality. Teachers, Student Leaders, Parents, and Local Representatives of Youth & Women’s organizations were invited. The training was and is still being delivered to leaders by María José Aldana; a specialist in youth and women’s health, as well as sexual and reproductive rights.

María José currently serves as Country Manager of Girls Rising Guatemala and has previously acted as a consultant for UNESCO Guatemala, the Population Council, and the Institute of International Education.


Gender Equality Workshop with Las Arrugas, San Felipe, and Ojo de Agua Community Leaders.

Topics that were covered: 

  • Combating Gender Stereotypes and Sexism.
  • Preventing Violence against Women.
  • Guaranteeing Equal Access of Women to Justice.

We continue working with Girl Rising, to make sure this training will be delivered to our mentors and consecutively to our mentees during their learning circles. Remember what Gandhi once said “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”. SOS is looking for that gentle but powerful shake.  

Vilma, the mentor from Ojo de Agua, said “The program has helped to feel safe, be more expressive and empower to participate” 

Based on the foregoing and local recommendations, Students Offering Support with the help of our Program Officers in Guatemala, being an active part of the solution have enforced and identified that through entrepreneurship, financial education, nutrition, and health workshops, it is possible to empower girls, women and young people, making them responsible for the proactive development of their community.  

Locally-Run Workshops

Entrepreneurship Workshop

To continue, I want to introduce Francisco Archila, Chairman of the Board of Directors Alliance for Community/Tourism and Living Ecotourism Verapaz. Member of the National Sub-commission of the Guatemalan Scouts Association and University Professor of Strategic Planning, Entrepreneurship, and administrative theory. He has been giving entrepreneurship workshops to our mentors in Las Arrugas.

In these training, the mentors have had the opportunity to work on topics such as characteristics of a good leader, entrepreneurial culture, responsible decision-making, and the creation of a good business pitch/plan. 

Entrepreneurship Workshop in Las Arrugas
“I want to own a bakery and help prosper my community,”  said a mentor during the workshop.

Nutrition & Health Workshop

Lila Zuñiga graduated in Nutrition from the University of San Carlos Guatemala and currently working in the health center, Cotzal. E-Tutor in Nutritional Food Security (DISAN) and Facilitator of the Course: Promotion and support in a child-friendly health service (IHAN) PAHO / WHO, UNICEF.

She has given workshops in San Felipe & Ojo de Agua about health and nutrition, emphasizing topics such as food in adolescence, the use of local products to maintain a balanced diet, and the importance of the physical activity.

Health and Nutrition Workshop in San Felipe.


Health and Nutrition Workshop in Ojo de Agua.

Financial Education & Entrepreneurship Workshop

Last but not least, Juan Cruz, manager of the Cooperativa “CIACKA”. A non-profit organization based in San Juan Cotzal, which aims to seek the common good through savings and credit services. At the same time, it entails social responsibility through programs to promote a culture of financial responsibility, create sources of employment, and carry out comprehensive social works.

Juan has been in charge of giving financial education and entrepreneurship workshops in the Communities of Cotzal. Topics that were covered: What is needed to be an entrepreneur, characteristics of an entrepreneur, benefits of entrepreneurship, How to know if you are ready to be an entrepreneur, Importance of personal and family financial education, Financial habits, good and important financial habits, How to take care of money, Tips to improve personal finances.

Entrepreneurship Workshop in Ojo de Agua.


Digital Literacy Workshop in San Felipe.

To conclude I want to share with you what Albert Schweitzer said “Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”

Gender Equality, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Health, and Nutrition are key components of the Guate Groundswell Initiative. Help us, by volunteering or donating to create more sustainable communities that will support educational opportunities, decrease poverty, create new employment, improve their well-being, generate economic growth, and enhance responsible decision-making.

You can donate here.

Teachers’ messages to the SOS Family

Guate Groundswell is made possible in part through support from the Fund for Innovation and Transformation and it’s partners: The InterCouncil Network, the Manitoba Council for International Co-operation, and the Government of Canada

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