Norma Bajan, Executive Director MAIA Guatemala
MAIA Impact School
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Why did you create this innovation?
Guatemala has the worst gender-equity gap in the hemisphere, and Indigenous Maya women experience levels of exclusion that make them among the most marginalized on Earth. In spite of global data showing the power of the “Girl Effect,” girls born into rural poverty are often considered “the problem.” Fewer than 20 percent of Maya women complete high school in Guatemala.
How does your innovation work in practice?
The MAIA Impact School is redefining education in Guatemala. Some of the innovative features include:
Empathy-driven design led by the school’s leadership and faculty who mirror the same gender/race as the students. Educators receive 100+ hours of professional development each year.
Emphasis on crucial nonacademic content such as competencies, social capital, reproductive health education, financial literacy, and civic awareness.
Family engagement program provides socioemotional accompaniment to girls and their families and includes regular home visits.
Student-centered classrooms emphasize the mastery of seven competencies (critical thinking, excellence, resilience, growth mindset, vocal empowerment, cross-cultural code-switching, and negotiation).
Using technology to maintain academic momentum through remote learning during COVID-19 and as a tool to amplify their empowered voices through video and radio programs.
MAIA scales impact through partnerships and collaboration.
How has it been spreading?
MAIA is designed as an open-source innovation platform that attunes global best practices into the rural Guatemalan context. MAIA approaches development through an abundance mindset centered on collaboration and aims to scale by disseminating best practices that improve the impact of other organizations. MAIA has proactively shared innovations and trainings with 50+ schools and organizations and is an active member of two global networks: One World Network of Schools and She’s the First. Within Guatemala, MAIA supported the creation of three networks—The Colectivo, R.I.N.A., and REdI—that catalyze and coordinate efforts to push for greater levels of inclusion and prosperity for all. To read more on scaling through partnerships, visit https://www.maiaimpact.org/systemic-change.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
Contact us! MAIA believes that through partnerships and collaboration we can have a greater impact and together work to make girls' education the norm, not the exception. MAIA has several elements that have been deliberately systematized to facilitate their adoption in other contexts: vocal empowerment curriculum, intentional instructional techniques, and socioemotional accompaniment techniques.
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