A Campaign: Being a Father is Educating

Credit: Girl Rising

In Guatemala, structural barriers such as inequality, misogyny, and racism prevent girls, especially indigenous girls, from accessing education. Additionally, the country has one of the highest rates of femicide worldwide, and gender-based violence has a unique impact on girls and adolescents. To combat these issues, community-based organizations are working to break down educational barriers and reduce violence against girls.

The Advocacy Network for Girls and Adolescents (Red de Incidencia de Niñas y Adolescentes or RINA) is a coalition of girl-focused organizations from across Guatemala that advocates for the rights, protection, and inclusion of adolescent girls. With support from our grantee Girl Rising-Guatemala, RINA connects various types of organizations to amplify their efforts.

In January and February 2023 when annual school registration takes place in Guatemala, RINA launched a campaign in four municipalities with high indigenous populations in Sololá Department. Called “Being a Father is Educating: Join Other Men Supporting the Education of Their Daughters,” the campaign targeted fathers to promote the importance of girls’ education and showcase stories of fathers supporting their daughters, as well as the diverse opportunities that education can offer women. Four local organizations – Amigos de Santa Cruz, Little Giants/Fundación Poulias, MAIA Impact School, and REDMI Aq’ab’al  — collaborated on the campaign design and most importantly implemented it in their municipalities.

Men and boys are important allies for girls’ and women’s rights, and fathers can help change long-held ideas about girls’ and women’s social roles. Fathers can support their daughters’ aspirations, promote their education, affirm their right to marry who they want or not marry at all, and help them confront other gender stereotypes.


RINA – Advocacy Network for Girls and Adolescents

Partner Links:

Girl Rising Guatemala

Amigos de Santa Cruz

Little Giants/Fundación Poulias


REDMI Aq’ab’al

The YIELD Hub: Advancing Youth Partnership in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Credit: Pexels

In 2017, the Youth Investment, Engagement, and Leadership Development (YIELD) Project began as a learning review to assess the impact of YIELD efforts on Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (AYSRHR) and to inform future action. YIELD’s initial five-year phase was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and The Summit Foundation.

The YIELD Hub, hosted by Rutgers, a Netherlands-based global organization with a long commitment to AYSRHR, was launched in July 2022 to bring to life the learning from the earlier research and stakeholder engagement phase which showed that youth partnership in AYSRHR has been held back by a lack of opportunity for cross-stakeholder sharing, learning, and coordinated action.

The Hub’s vision is a world in which youth partnership is the norm within the AYSRHR field, and its mission is to improve youth partnership in the AYSRHR space. The Hub uses collective action learning, and a collaborative problem-solving process to generate new and creative solutions for improving youth participation in AYSRHR.

In 2022, the YIELD Hub’s staff launched its first collective action learning group, with three more planned for 2023 covering topics including compensating youth work, capacity development for youth transition, and finding, engaging, and sustaining new generations of youth leaders. In April 2023, the YIELD Hub launched a new Youth Partnership podcast. The first episode focused on amplifying youth partnership to end violence against women and girls.


Youth Partnership Podcast – YIELD Hub

YIELD Project Research Report: Young People Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health: Toward a New Normal

Issue Paper on Gender: When the Gap Is a Chasm: The Gendered Experience of Youth Participation and Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health

Partner Link:


RECARGA: Supporting Educational Recovery in Central America

Credit: Global Fund for Children

Children in Guatemala and Honduras face persistent barriers to their educational success, which were further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Global Fund for Children (GFC) launched the RECARGA initiative in 2022 which is resourced primarily by a funder collaborative that includes Tinker FoundationThe Summit FoundationInternational Community FoundationLuis von Ahn FoundationFocus Central America, and Vibrant Village Foundation.

RECARGA is an acronym for Recuperando la Educación en Centroamérica: Activando Redes y Grupos Asociados (Educational Recovery in Central America: Supporting the Critical Role of Civil Society Organizations). The initiative supports the recovery, renewal, and improvement of learning environments. It provides funding and organizational capacity strengthening support to the partners, with the goal of increasing their influence and impact beyond direct service delivery.

As the manager of the initiative, GFC provides direct support to local organizations and facilitates networking, convening, and collaboration in Guatemala and Honduras, supported with research and resource partners Population Council in Guatemala and CIPE Consultores in Honduras. The local partner organizations have varied missions and focus, including addressing gender inequality in education, providing education to children rejected from public schools, alternative or supplementary education, literacy and life skills programs, sustainable development and livelihoods, technical education in traditional handicrafts, invigorating libraries in schools, and providing education in violence-prone regions.


Global Fund for Children – RECARGA

Partner Links:

Global Fund for Children

Population Council Guatemala

CIPE Consultores Honduras

Invisible Threads: Addressing Migration by Investing in Women and Girls

Credit: Population Council

In recent years a significant proportion of migrants at the US southern border have come from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The large number of migrants from Central America has prompted the US government to seek to better understand and address the root causes of migration from the region, including through its foreign assistance. The Population Institute published a report in 2022 entitled “Invisible Threads: Addressing the Root Causes of Migration from Guatemala by Investing in Women and Girls,” examining the factors that are driving migration from Guatemala, specifically that of women and girls. Many migrants seek greater economic security for themselves and their families, but the burden of economic insecurity is heavily borne by women.

Guatemala has the lowest proportion of women participating in the paid labor market in Latin America. Women in Guatemala, particularly Indigenous and Afro-descendant, also face educational and occupational inequities, creating “glass ceilings” that limit their ability to progress. Climate change also plays a role in people’s decisions to migrate from the region. Crime and violence, demographic pressures and limited investment in sexual and reproductive health are other factors driving migration.

Summit grantees FUNDAECO, WINGS, and Population Council collaborated with Population Institute on the report. It highlights innovative programs across Guatemala that demonstrate how targeted investments can yield benefits that cut across many of the root causes of migration.


Invisible Threads: Addressing the Root Causes of Migration from Guatemala by Investing in Women and Girls

Partner Links:

Population Council Guatemala



Mayra Pop’s Dream

Credit: Carol Guzy/Ripple Effect

According to UNICEF, out of every ten girls in Guatemala, only six complete their primary education, two complete secondary school, and only one attends university. Mayra Pop is the first person from her community to go to college, but the road there was challenging.

Thanks to the scholarship program of FUNDAECO, a local NGO dedicated to environmental conservation, sustainable development, and promoting women’s and girls’ rights, Mayra completed the highest education level available in her village. However, in order to continue high school, she had to travel to another community, which meant additional expenses that her family could not afford.

Mayra seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of generations of girls from her small indigenous community. At 14, Mayra’s father decided she would not finish school and instead would marry a 21-year-old man who she did not know. But Mayra had learned about her rights in FUNDAECO’s program and decided to defy her father’s decision and the community’s customs and take her case to the justice system. In a landmark ruling, the judge declared that Mayra’s rights were being violated and ordered her family to allow her to continue her education. She received scholarships to attend secondary school and is currently completing a university degree in forest engineering.

Mayra’s dream was the same as so many girls in Guatemala who find joy in going to school and who want to keep studying. Still, a combination of economic insecurity and gender norms do not allow them to pursue their dreams. According to Girls Not Brides, in Guatemala, 30% of girls get married or enter an informal union before they turn 18, and the figure is higher for rural, indigenous girls. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the risks of child marriage, but Mayra’s story serves as an inspiration for other girls in her community to defy societal expectations and pursue their dreams. She aims to use her education to help other girls in similar situations, a reminder of the power of education to change lives and communities for the better. FUNDAECO’s Healthy and Empowered Women and Girls Program continues to reach hundreds of girls and young women like Mayra each year with sexual and reproductive health services, scholarships, leadership development, and connections to economic opportunities.


Radio Ambulante


Partner Link: