October 15, 2018

UNESCO and Fe y Alegría Guatemala open first Malala Center in Latin America

Throughout history, gender inequality has been ever present. Even in the 21st century, discrimination persists. Many of us are witnesses to it. In some places it becomes more evident than in others, and  it continues to occur at all levels and social spheres.

What is needed to achieve gender equality, a world where men and women live in respect, harmony and peace? Where there is dialogue and feelings and ideas can be expressed freely?

One ingredient is the courage to be a woman and defend the rights we have. As Malala Yousafzai has done in Pakistan in defending the right to education for girls and women. It is also about the passion for life and being a person. This passion leads us to fight for what we deserve, for what is ours and what belongs to all. We all have the right to education. Education opens doors, changes mentalities, and enriches the person.

What to do, when to start and how? These answers are quite clear, with the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education, which seeks in Guatemala to strengthen the educational policies of gender equality at the national and local levels through the creation of two UNESCO-Malala centers in the western highlands of Guatemala. In Santa María Chiquimula, Totonicapán we have one center and Fe y Alegría Guatemala has opened its doors and heart to support and work for the education of indigenous girls, adolescents and young women, especially those who have been marginalized from the education system due to their gender, ethnicity,and poverty, in order to strengthen equity and gender equality.

The “MINEDUC-UNESCO Malala-Fe y Alegría Training and Information Center” project was launched in July of this year. It promotes the creation and approval of an educational policy for gender equality that will guide the education of the country. It seeks to guarantee the right to quality education, with an emphasis on a gender perspective. This policy will be implemented with the participation and involvement of the Ministry of Education of Guatemala. The project adds to the work done by Fe y Alegría in favor of access to quality education for all and encourages processes of change, development and transformation in personal, family and community spaces. It also contemplates the participation of the municipalities and the Municipal Directorate of Women, as well as all educational actors of the community and other grassroots organizations.

The agreements that UNESCO and Fe y Alegría have taken on include:

  • Undertake joint work with the community of Santa María Chiquimula.
  • Organize and plan follow-up and accompaniment meetings.
  • Facilitate inclusion and entrepreneurship workshops.
  • Share training materials.

At Fe y Alegría, we are promoters of networking, thus an alliance with UNESCO has been created because we believe that we can carry out a holistic approach that responds to the interests and objectives of both institutions… “to do together what we cannot do alone”.