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

Guatemala: Scholarships, 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 over 250 low-income children from 14 communities. Co-partners has been funding these scholarships for 10 years covering over 2000 children..

Promote and Protect Health in Guatemala

The tragic, unnecessary death of a young indigenous woman prompted ASDECO to develop a community nursing program. 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, Co-partners supported ten students in the commiunity nursing program with the hope that more trained health personnel will contribute to better health for their communities.  

Nursing students assisted by Co-partners


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.  

Teachers of English in an intensive-English workshop.


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

For seven years Co-partners volunteers taught intensive English classes to groups of 30 to 35 English teachers and other interested students ranging in age from the teens through the twenties. The purpose of the classes was to improve teaching of English and to give young people a head start on the English they will need to find jobs in the tourism industry.  The emphasis in these classes was on oral communication. The students were enthusiastic learners with almost no absences throughout the courses.  The local teachers found the interactive method of teaching, introduced by Co-partners volunteers, very useful for their own classes.

A Co-partners volunteer provides annual training to the ASDECO Women's Network (Red de Mujeres). These programs have covered training in advocacy, assertive communication, leadership, group facilitation and self-esteem.

At right, members of the Women's Network show statements of commitments they made in an advocacy workshop.

For five years a Co-partners volunteer also provided strategic planning facilitation for the ASDECO Board of Directors.  The training included strategic planning, fundraising, and financial sustainability.