Pro Mujer reached a new milestone and officially expanded into Guatemala through establishing a new alliance with expert local partner SERES, a leading Central American organization that works to combat complex social, environmental and economic challenges by cultivating and catalyzing youth leaders to act at the local, national and international levels. As part of this exciting partnership, we opened an Opportunity Center in Tecpán, Guatemala in the beginning of 2019. This center is already growing into a collaborative space, where multiple private sector organizations and NGOs in the region can converge and leverage resources to develop an ecosystem of support and services for women and youth.
Leading up to International Girls in ICT Day on April 25th, we have leveraged our resources and network over the past month to offer digital literacy trainings for girls in the Tecpán center. International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April and aims to encourage and empower girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICT (Information and Communications Technology), enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the technology sector. Tecpán, being a small Guatemalan city in the Department of Chimaltenango, suffers from the large digital divide that currently exists in the Central American country. Overall, the digital skills divide across lines of gender are deep, impacting Guatemalan women and girls at a higher rate than men and boys. As an active EQUALS Global partner, Pro Mujer is prioritizing activities that aim to bridge this vast digital gender divide as we expand our work through strategic partnerships in Guatemala.
To do this, Pro Mujer coordinated with SERES and joined forces with SHEVA, an innovative Guatemalan organization that teaches women and girls how to take advantage of existing and life-changing tools accessed through mobile technology. Together, by leveraging our combined resources and expertise, our organizations partnered and invited 35 girls, aged 14-17, to participate in two of Sheva´s ¨She´s Connected¨ trainings. The first of the Sheva trainings, which was held on April 4th, empowered participants to acquire basic mobile technology skills and oriented the girls on how to navigate mobile apps such as Duolingo, Canva, Facebook and Whatsapp, among others.
Glendy, a SERES Facilitator and Opportunity Center Coordinator shared, “We accessed applications on a smartphone and learned how to use security on Facebook, languages on Doulingo, and search videos on Youtube. The girls were excited to have access to technology and begin to understand the basics of these tools.”
The second ¨She´s Connected¨ training, will be held shortly and will deepen the skills the girls acquired in the first session. By joining forces to create a more balanced digital world, Pro Mujer, SERES and SHEVA will continue to collaborate based on the collective belief that in order for women and girls to reach their full potential and achieve independence, they must be able to access information, use existing resources efficiently, and communicate their stories and ideas, empowering women and girls to shape their own futures, leading to stronger families, communities, and economies.