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The MAIA Impact School is Central America’s first secondary school designed specifically for Maya girls in rural Guatemala.

MAIA Impact School

location_on Sololá, Guatemala
The MAIA Impact School is designed to connect the talents of rural indigenous girls with the opportunities of the 21st century. MAIA is redefining education in Guatemala by evidencing the transformational impact of highly educated Maya girls; the impact of same gender/race staff as the students; and how rigorous innovation and open-sourcing success can accelerate systemic change.
Norma Bajan, Executive Director MAIA Guatemala
"MAIA and its holistic education and empowerment program is the exact formula to change the world."

Norma Bajan, Executive Director MAIA Guatemala

Overview

HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.
Key figures

Innovation Overview

ALL
Target Group
236
Children/Users
1
Country
2017
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
459
Views
Updated on April 18th, 2021
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about the innovation

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.

Media

See this innovation in action

Conversatorios Tzijonem — MAIA
Tzijonem: Voces de Cambio (means “discussion” in Kaqchikel) is a series of live discussions between Girl Pioneers and public figures including thought-provoking analysis on current events, culture and identity, gender equality, and environmental sustainability.https://www.maiagt.org/tzijonem-1
From Guatemala to the World: Girl-Centered Remote Learning
Girl Pioneer, Wendy, and MAIA Impact School Director, Vilma participated in the International Youth Foundation’s Our Future, Our Voices conference. Their presentation showcased our Girl Centered Remote Learning model.October 2020https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26KAM2mKE0M
During COVID-19 school closures, Indigenous girls increase access to books in rural Guatemala — Assembly | Malala Fund
By: Elvira, Maria Florinda and Yessica | October 30, 2020"Elvira, Florinda and Yessica share how they’re creating libraries in their communities to help other Indigenous students continue to learn during the pandemic."https://assembly.malala.org/stories/indigenous-girls-increase-access-to-books-in-rural-guatemala
“Transforming Indigenous Girls in Guatemala into Leaders”
by Johana Vazquez "The MAIA Impact school is a breakthrough for the education of indigenous girls in Guatemala. Education has the power to change nations and these girls are the change. They are making changes right now even amid the pandemic. They are future politicians, journalists and scientists, who will be the voices for their underrepresented communities. Education has the power to transform lives and every girl deserves the chance."https://www.borgenmagazine.com/indigenous-girls-in-guatemala/ 
Women as Actors for Climate Change in Guatemala
By Rebecca Contreras, SDG Research Lead"MAIA...illustrates the vital role that women and girls can play in climate adaptation and risk mitigation." https://medium.com/una-nca-snapshots/women-as-actors-for-climate-change-in-guatemala-aea24142b1f6
From Social Distance to Social Impact: Centering Girls’ Education in a Global Pandemic
MAIA's first-ever documentary, filmed from home by Girl Pioneers and MAIA’s team. From Social Distance to Social Impact: Centering Girls’ Education in a Global Pandemic captures a unique moment in time, accompanying Girl Pioneers through their journey during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this documentary, we learn about the tools they use while studying from home and the support Girl Pioneers receive from their families, educators, and mentors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wsr-cVZ7iiA&t=2s
MAIA wins MIT SOLVE Prize for Girls and Women Innovators
MAIA was selected out of 422 applicants from 80 countries as a winner of the MIT SOLVE Prize for Girls and Women Innovators! This award is an exciting opportunity for MAIA to showcase our work on an international scale alongside other global changemakers, and to receive recognition for our innovative approach to holistic education in rural Guatemala. SOLVE is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. SOLVE is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation challenges, SOLVE finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. SOLVE then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting transformational impact.   MAIA’s winning project is called Amplify Her Voice; Maya Girl Pioneers in Guatemala break a culture of silence through an empowered voice amplified by technology. One of our core principles is centering Girl Pioneers’ empowered voices, and an unexpected result of the pandemic has been gaining increased connectivity in the rural communities themselves. Internet-equipped tablets cut through the centuries of barriers that have kept girls’ voices and talents hidden, such as difficult topography, remote villages, absence of basic services, and now COVID-19. This innovation represents the ability to equip Girl Pioneers leapfrog in the areas of academic growth and advocacy. Even when classes resume, Girl Pioneers can accelerate their academic trajectory via access to online content. More significantly, with this innovation, a Girl Pioneer can now interface with and produce information in ways that Guatemala, both rural and urban, has never before seen.   MAIA is thrilled with this opportunity to highlight the incredible talent and responsiveness of our team in Guatemala. 
MAIA Impact School's 1st Middle School Graduation 2019
In Guatemala, only 25 percent of indigenous girls continue their studies beyond middle school. Over the past three years, we have seen the first class of Girl Pioneers overcome adversity and stigma to become resilient, innovative, and ambitious young women who know the power of their voice and the importance of their role in shaping their communities. They are creating a future for themselves that was unimaginable to previous generations and in January 2020 they will start their first year of high school.MAIA Impact School's 1st Middle School Graduation 2019https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbP-17vevXM
Zayed Sustainability Prize 2019
MAIA was awarded the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize for being the most “innovative and inclusive” school in the Americas. https://zayedsustainabilityprize.com/en/
New Family Pledge Ceremony at the MAIA Impact School 2019
In Guatemala, only 25 percent of indigenous girls continue their studies beyond middle school. Over the past three years, we have seen the first class of Girl Pioneers overcome adversity and stigma to become resilient, innovative, and ambitious young women who know the power of their voice and the importance of their role in shaping their communities. They are creating a future for themselves that was unimaginable to previous generations and in January 2020 they will start their first year of high school.
Her Ambitious Dreams
In 2020, MAIA launched the first year of high school at the MAIA Impact School. The high school is designed to ensure students gain the knowledge and skills they need to live a choice-filled life after graduation and achieve their dreams.Her Ambitious Dreams (2019) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0amoz2DUnGw
Her Bold New Trajectory
When you think about countries that thrive, there is one thing they have in common: they invest in and maximize the talent of their entire society. In too many places across the globe, girls reside outside the margins. Now, more than ever, the world needs their talents.Young women represent Guatemala and the world's greatest resource. They are not the problem; they are the solution. They are the talent that just needs opportunity. Step inside the life of a young indigenous woman at the MAIA Impact School. See how her life changes when she has access to a high-quality education that is designed to set her on a bold new trajectory and instill within her the knowledge, skills, and competencies she needs to thrive in the 21st century.Her Bold New Trajectory (2019) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG90-t_Szm0
Family Engagement - Home Visits with a MAIA Mentor
At MAIA, we achieve success with families, not in spite of them. In addition to bimonthly parent meetings, every family receives at least one monthly home visit to ensure that families are learning alongside their daughters and are creating a new shared vision of a better future.MAIA Family Engagement Program (2020) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6Xq2Jit6_o&t=9s 

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

October 2020
Andrea Coché, MAIA’s Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, recognized by the START Network as a distinguished international changemaker
September 2020
MAIA wins MIT SOLVE Prize for Girls and Women Innovators
July 2020
Energy Globe Award for Sustainability
May 2020
2020 WISE Award Finalist
April 2020
MAIA highlighted in OpenIDEO’s COVID-19 Communication & Behavior Change
February 2020
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
January 2020
Vocal Empowerment techniques published in the Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training
January 2019
Zayed Sustainability Prize: as the most “innovative and inclusive” school in the Americas
January 2018
Colorado Women’s Foundation Women Have Wings Award Recognizing leadership of MAIA Guatemala Director
January 2017
MAIA Impact School Opens
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01
MAIA is designed as an open-source innovation platform
MAIA aims to scale by disseminating best-practices that improve the impact of other organizations. MAIA is designed as an open-source innovation platform that attunes global best-practices into the rural, Guatemalan context. MAIA has facilitated access to innovation for 50+ schools and NGOs.
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