"Blazing a trail - the Guatemalan change-makers" - new post on the ESD Prize Blog

31 May 2018

maria-seres-688_2.jpg

© Mark Edwards

Read and see in our new blog post how Mark Edwards, founder of the Hard Rain Project which won the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in 2017, met young change-makers in Guatemala who promote ESD through the SERES ESD Youth Ambassadors programme, which won the same prize in 2015. Mark, a professional photographer, has captured some of their programme activities in word and image:

"SERES has been working since 2009 with the youth of Guatemala and El Salvador to give them the tools they need to bring about positive change through sustainable development, and I suggested a short visit to see if I could take pictures that might show the scope and impact the project is having.   

A short flight from San José, a night in Antigua, an astonishingly beautiful colonial town, and off at the crack of dawn to San Andrés Osuna. Two bumpy hours from Antigua is Guatemala City as it is for most of its people, a community dependent for survival on their own efforts. Here SERES trained a youth leader and together with 19 young people, have focused on dealing with rubbish and sanitation by leading cleaning campaigns and garbage disposal around the village.

They go beyond just cleaning parties to use theatre performances to take the message into the hearts and minds of the community. They offer a tremendous presentation. 

This is protest at its best; funny, moving, unexpected and serious all at once. Maria Fernanda Calvilla delivers a blazing performance that cuts through the stilted language of sustainability academics to bring alive the issues about our place in the world. If she had been born in Spain, she would no doubt have been on stage and screen. Here she is transforming a smaller audience; her talent is not wasted.

She reminds us that without the arts, education for sustainable development is a dull intellectual exercise that may be worthy but won’t bring about the change so urgently needed in the world.

Over the next couple of days, I got to see young people planting trees, teaching forest classes, setting up income-generating schemes and tackling plastic litter. SERES has created a multiplier effect by training leaders. This is changing communities across Guatemala - a quiet revolution whose time has come."

Click here to read the full blog and see more of Mark's photos