Co-partners of Campesinas
Helping Rural Women and Youth in Central America

Guatemala: Scholarships, Spoken English, Organizational Development in Chichicastenango and Surrounding Rural Villages.



Since 2008 Co-partners has been working in Guatemala with a local indigenous non-governmental organization, the Asociación de Desarrollo Comunitario-ASDECO (Community Development Association), originally established shortly after the signing of the Guatemalan peace accords in 1996. ASDECO works with rural women and youth to support education and health activities in and around the market town of Chichicastenango.  Co-partners works with ASDECO’s Women’s Network (Red de Mujeres) representing the rural women of 14 Mayan indigenous communities.

LEARN:  Keep Girls (and Boys) in School
Right: Mariela is one of many child sellers in the famous crafts market of Chichicastenango. Because their families need the money they can earn, children like Mariela, especially girls, may be held out of school.
Co-partners provides school kits and encouragement to children like Mariela and their families so that they will attend school.

The Women’s Network of ASDECO takes charge of the purchase and distribution of school supplies for 90 low-income children from 14 communities. For five years, Co-partners has been funding scholarships for 150 children annually.  Beginning in 2013, this number will increase to 250 children.

Promote and Protect Health in Guatemala

The tragic, unnecessary death of a young indigenous woman prompted ASDECO to fund 13 nursing scholarships and to request 3 scholarships from Co-partners. A teacher working in a rural community developed fever and abdominal pain. Because her family was poor and no medical facilities or personnel were available in her community, she died of acute appendicitis en route to a regional hospital. To avoid other such tragic deaths, ASDECO, together with Co-partners, provided scholarships for 16 local youth to study nursing with the hope that more trained health personnel will contribute to better health for their communities.  


Co-partners has provided tuition assistance for Guatemalan students in medicine and nursing.  Once they have their certificates, they provide sorely-needed medical care in rural areas.  We helped Pedro, left, who is now the only source of medical care in a small community.


EARN: Learning English – a Ticket to Employment in the Tourism Industry in Guatemala

In 2009, Co-partners volunteers taught English to a group of 28 students ranging in age from 12 to 26 years old. The purpose of the classes is to give these young people a head start on the English they will need to find jobs in the tourist industry.  The emphasis in these classes is on oral communication. The students were enthusiastic learners with no absences throughout the course. Volunteers returned in 2010 to teach a similar group. In 2011 and 2012, they taught a workshop with local teachers of English from the Chichicastenango area who then conducted English classes for others throughout the year. The local teachers found the interactive method of teaching, introduced by Co-partners volunteers, very useful for their own classes.
From 2009 to the present a Co-partners volunteer has provided strategic planning facilitation for the ASDECO board of directors.  The training includes strategic planning, fundraising, and financial sustainability.
Co-partners volunteers also provide annual training to the ASDECO Women's Network.  These programs have covered training in advocacy, assertive communication and leadership and group facilitation.