Guate Groundswell: January Recap

Hola amigos,

After a well-deserved break for our local and international team in which everyone had the opportunity to spend time with family and celebrate December festivities, we came back fresh and ready to start coordinating our first activities.

We concluded the month of January. The beginning of the new year and the time to make New Year resolutions. Did you know that in the old days, the new year started with a custom called “first footing”, this was to bring good luck to the people for the coming year. As soon as midnight had passed and January 1st had started, people used to wait behind doors for a dark-haired person to arrive. The visitor carried a piece of coal, some bread, some money, and some greenery. These were all for good luck – The coal to make sure that the house would always be warm, the bread to make sure everyone in the house would have enough food to eat, money so that they would have enough money, and the greenery to make sure that they had a long life (Mandy Barrow, 2013). 

Though we do not follow this custom, SOS’s resolution for 2021 is to keep spreading love, kindness, warmth, and a good willing heart within our local and international communities. 

Starting January, we hosted a training between the Program Officers (Antonio, Isabel, and Noe) and our colleague Jensen Arsenault, SOS program coordinator for online exchanges. 

Jensen has extensive experience in education. She teaches youth and children with a focus on human rights and human diversity. She shared some of her learning strategies so youth mentors in Guatemala could implement them in learning circles with younger students. 

We ended our training by describing our team’s strengths. Some of the qualities that were mentioned by James Arron (Executive Director) are perseverance, compassion, commitment, and creativity. Thank you team, these are the qualities that have brought us so far into a journey where we hope to keep building more sustainable communities with driven and committed youth. 

During the week of January 11 to 15. While the team continued to coordinate the activities of 2021, our youth mentors had the opportunity to attend an effective communications workshop delivered by INTECAP. The program consists of a total of 40 hours (20h being practical training and 20h being theoretical) over a period of one week (Monday to Friday). The face-to-face sessions occurred in the community’s schools of Las Arrugas, San Felipe Chenla, and Ojo de Agua. These sessions followed the criteria outlined below.

  • To identify the elements of communication and factors involved in specific cases of verbal and non-verbal communication
  • To identify the characteristics of assertive verbal and nonverbal communications
  • To explain and practice techniques to communicate assertively for both verbal and non-verbal communications
  • To apply verbal communication protocols in different cultural contexts
  • To practice non-verbal communication protocols within a variety of circumstances.

INTECAP is a leading Guatemalan Institution in technical training for young people and adults who wish to transform their lives, be competitive in a company, undertake and start their own business or simply update their knowledge and certify them and thus achieve their own dreams and build a better life. For more than 47 years, it has been promoted by the delegation of the State and with the contribution of the private sector, the development of human talent and national productivity.

In this local workshop, the mentors learned about the importance and differences between verbal and non-verbal communication skills and how to apply them when delivering a learning circle. 

Noel Caal, Program Officer in Las Arrugas said ” In today’s world, knowing how to speak in public is crucial both personally and professionally speaking. Fortunately, with proper training like our youth mentors received from INTECAP, this technical skill can develop to achieve success. As a Program Officer, I know that our students throughout their lives will become community leaders, they will need to face an audience, explain and share their ideas. They needed this type of training to prepare for what lies ahead of them and I am excited to see the positive outcomes we will get in the learning circles”.

“It was a great experience to learn more about verbal and non-verbal communication skills, it helped me to know what kind of person I am.  Today, I am confident to say that I am an assertive person and assertive people have more opportunities in life. INTECAP was a great opportunity to learn more about empathy, perseverance, and leadership. Alba Toc Pacay, Youth Mentors in Las Arrugas. 

INTECAP has a Quality Management System certified with the ISO 9001: 2015 standard, which follows international requirements. Training and technical assistance are recognized worldwide. Youth mentors received their certification after passing their practical and theoretical exams.

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