Education for Climate Responsiveness – Guatemala and Nicaragua
Partner: Change for Children
In addition to the impacts of the COVID pandemic, Indigenous rural communities in Central America are facing the increasing impacts of the climate crisis. The municipalities with the highest vulnerability to climate change are also the rural areas with the highest levels of poverty and greatest dependence on subsistence agriculture. Most families have at least one member who has migrated for work, often to the USA, to earn money to subsidize the family needs.
Girls are particularly impacted by these challenges. Often girls are responsible for domestic chores, such as water and firewood collection, washing, and food preparation, all of which are negatively affected by climate change. In addition, they are more likely than boys to drop out or be taken out of school if the family cannot afford schooling. Research evidence indicates that if girls start grade 7, they are more likely to finish high school than their male peers, but getting to grade 7 is a challenge. At the same time, the evidence indicates that with the right education and support, girls are powerful leaders for climate change response in their families and communities.
This $30,000 project addresses the negative impacts of climate-change by enabling teachers to integrate Climate Change Education in their classes. A training module will be developed on the RACHEL and delivered to teachers to learn how to integrate climate change education and related national curriculum into their classes in innovative, contextually-relevant, and engaging ways. Thirty schools (about 90 teachers) will pilot the new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) training in schools in Guatemala and Nicaragua, and provide evaluation feedback. Afterwards, a complete rollout of the MOOC will be included in 100 schools. All content created through 60 million girls’ funding will be open source to be able to be used for free by anyone enabling yet more teachers and students to benefit in the long term from this investment.
The RACHELs in Guatemala and Nicaragua already include several teacher training MOOCs. This project will create a MOOC specifically related to climate change including videos, readings, and exercises, to build teacher capacity to teach this subject matter. In addition, Girl Rising has environmental content from other parts of the world that can be contextualized for Guatemala. Teachers will take the training on the RACHEL, receive credit, and utilize the resources in their classrooms. Strategies to integrate Indigenous knowledge will be included to complement the western science content.
The climate change education component of the project will create tools for teachers to improve learning on this subject and to support leadership development for students, particularly girls, on this issue. While the Guatemalan and Nicaraguan national curriculum include some learning outcomes and content on this topic, this is relatively new material for teachers. Climate change education in 30 schools will be immediately enhanced, and in the medium term, high quality climate change instruction that includes both indigenous and Western scientific approaches will be extended to schools with RACHELS provided by Mundo Posible.
This project will develop components for an existing stream of work within Change for Children (CFC). CFC has been facilitating the use of RACHELs to enhance student learning in marginalized communities in Guatemala and Nicaragua for more than five years. With this project, new strategic uses of the RACHEL will be tested; that is, the focused use of RACHEL for climate change education.
The climate change education MOOC will be included in all the RACHELs installed regionally by Mundo Posible, CFC’s partner in Guatemala and Nicaragua, and will become part of on-going teacher training programs. Mundo Posible has set up over 400 RACHELs throughout Guatemala.
Why partner with Change for Children?
This will be the fourth project 60 million girls has funded with Change for Children. Earlier projects include construction of a secondary school in the Bosawas region of Nicaragua, the creation and implementation of Mobile Learning Labs in 10 schools in Guatemala including the creation of content in local indigenous languages and finally, funding of Mobile Learning Labs in three indigenous villages in the Bosawas along with teacher training and content development in the indigenous languages of the region.
Change for Children has always been a partner willing to look at new approaches but with a strong monitoring and evaluation base to enable them, and us, to determine the very best ways to most effectively support girls’ education. They come with a rich background of climate action projects implemented for several years now. CFC has been working in these communities for over 40 years and are deeply experienced in their needs and the importance of their indigenous cultures.