Completed Research

Fellows for Change Empowering Education Leaders in Rural Guatemalan Communities

University of Melbourne

Rural and Indigenous Guatemalan communities face multiple barriers that hinder their access to efficient, high-quality, and culturally-appropriate education (Jair de Lovo, 2022). This results in an education gap, with rural learners averaging only 3.7 years of schooling while their urban counterparts average 6.2 years (Sanchez, et al, 2016).

Access to inclusive and equitable quality education is a pivotal goal established in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (United Nations, 2015), and is identified as crucial for combating the poverty and inequality that disproportionately affect vulnerable groups in Guatemala (Jair de Lovo, 2022).

Founded in 2013, ConnectED is a not-for-profit organization in Central America that empowers local leaders through capacity development, resource provision, and support of locally-driven solutions. After successfully implementing their Fellows Model in Nicaragua, ConnectED scaled-up and introduced the Model to marginalized Guatemalan communities in 2020 to support the endeavours of local education leaders.

This case study will identify the elements of the Fellows Model which have the greatest impact on improving access, quality, and relevance of education for communities in Guatemala. The research will delve into the model’s effectiveness in these areas to provide valuable insights for the development of sustainable and adaptable education initiatives in the region.

Hard to Reach

Populations with a lack of access to quality and relevant education in rural and Indigenous Guatemalan communities.

Key Takeaways

ConnectED’s model incorporated key features of self-determination and built a culture of trust that the communities had not previously experienced with other educational initiatives or the government. Five key lessons for social development, based on the model’s successful elements:

  1. Promoting community autonomy and self-determination
  2. Prioritizing community-led initiatives
  3. Being flexible and human-centered
  4. Enabling access to education beyond the student
  5. Fostering complementarity and collaboration