Education indicators in Guatemala are very poor due to the low levels of completion of primary school, low rates of pre primary and secondary school coverage and the need to improve education quality. Guatemala has the lowest literacy rate for youth in Latin America (85%) which limits the options for youth, especially women, to work either in the formal or informal sectors.
USAID|Alianzas’ strategy for investment in education is focused on supporting organizations and programs that address quality, access, equity and efficiency of basic education. It also seeks to increase access to education and training with the purpose of developing job skills in youth at risk. The proposed projects should meet the objectives of USAID|Alianzas:
- Increased, improved and more equitable opportunities for learning
- Teacher training and classroom methodologies
- School facilities and materials
- Basic education and vocational training/life competencies/work force skills for youth at risk
The projects should also adjust to one or more of the following components:
Scholarships: USAID|Alianzas will implement a scholarship program focused on two groups: children and youth, higher and university education. The proposals will offer equal learning opportunities for boys, girls and youth and will reduce the gender, rural-urban and ethnic gaps. The development of basic and job related skills should also be considered within the proposals. The scholarships can be granted either for a specific grade or for a whole school in order to establish learning results or significant changes during the time of the intervention. In the case of individual scholarships, the priority is girls.
Teacher training and classroom methodologies: Project proposals under this component have to focus on the improvement of the quality of education through training of teachers in innovative methodologies that promote better academic results.
Improvement of school infrastructure and materials: School infrastructure has to offer the minimum physical conditions for the learning process. Projects under this component should prioritize classrooms, kitchens and bathrooms or latrines and must be linked to an intervention related to improving the quality of education.
Guatemala has an unmet demand and coverage of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning (FP) methods, evidenced by insufficient birth spacing and the growing number of pregnancies in girls as young as 10. Reduction of infant, neonatal and maternal mortality are a priority in the country. For immunization, there is a need to increase coverage, improve the cold chain, and train service providers. At the hospital level, the most important focus is on resolving deficiencies in neonatal and maternal care by training qualified providers such as nurses. A priority intervention in Guatemala is to prevent and treat under nutrition, with emphasis on nutrition during pregnancy up through age two.
USAID|Alianzas’ areas of intervention in health will be:
Sexual and reproductive health: Promotion of access and availability of SRH services, including FP methods; training community service providers to offer quality services; increased access to information, education and communication in SRH/FP to improve knowledge and awareness; integration of services; reaching youth; SRH education in schools; communication campaigns and provision of FP resources.
Maternal and child health (MCH): Promotion of access and availability of maternal and child care; training institutional and community health providers to offer MCH services, including obstetrical care; increased access to information, education and communication on (MCH); increased promotion and support of exclusive breastfeeding; and improving immunizations coverage.
Nutrition: Promotion of access and availability of micronutrients; training institutional and community health providers to offer counseling and nutrition services; increased access to information, education and communication to promote the adoption of effective nutrition practices; strengthen the quality of nutritional surveillance systems.
Water and sanitation: Promotion of access and availability of safe water at point of consumption; increased access to information, education and communication to promote the adoption of effective hygiene and sanitation practices.
HIV/AIDS: Promotion of access and availability of quality services, focused on the reduction of stigma and discrimination; promotion of access and availability of counseling and voluntary testing in most at risk populations; increased access to information, education and communication to promote prevention practices and services.