Building peace in the minds of men and women

Empowering teachers in Guatemala with sustainability

17 October 2019

In Guatemala, the ‘graduation project’ is an important part of youth’s secondary education. The objective of these projects, usually undertaken in small groups and based on an action research methodology, is to serve the community and contribute to solving problems that students have identified in their community or school.

In 2019, the Guatemalan Ministry of Education proposed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the thematic basis of the graduation project.

UNESCO provides technical support for the Ministry of Education, highlighting the importance of Education for Sustainable Development for the country. The organization notably had the opportunity to conduct a series of 11 training workshops at the national level, both in rural and urban areas of the country, for teachers supervising graduation projects related to the SDGs, transformative pedagogy and sustainability skills. Throughout the country, 600 teachers were empowered to promote greater participation and collaboration among young students. During each of these workshops, participants made a commitment to apply the knowledge they gained in the context of their schools and to disseminate information to benefit other teachers within their municipalities.

Highlights

  • In 2019 11 SDG-related trainings were organized for Guatemalan teachers 600 teachers participated in workshops throughout the country
  • There are over 2900 teachers working in Guatemala, in both public institutions and private ones
  • 185,000 young people will have implemented graduation projects focusing on sustainable development by the end of the year

In Guatemala, nearly half of the population is indigenous, so the issue of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity is particularly relevant to the sustainable development of the country. The theme hence received special attention during these workshops, within the framework of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, observed by the United Nations in 2019. During the workshops, teachers notably had the opportunity to reflect on the place that nature holds in various indigenous worldviews. According to Mayan culture, humans share their place in the world with other living beings; therefore, a deep respect for the environment ensues.

By the end of the year, 185,000 young people from Guatemala will have implemented graduation projects focused on Sustainable Development in their communities. These young people will also continue their academic training and professional development with greater awareness, solidarity and interest in the development of their communities from transformative approaches.