UW Guatemala Education Project

  • Guatemala Carpentry Workshop
  • Guatemala Sewing Workshop
  • Guatemala Computer Workshop
  • Guatemala Beauty Workshop


For more information about our Guatemalan partners see Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos.

This project was spearheaded by a group of University of Washington students and recent alumni working to provide scholarships and vocational training for their peers in Guatemala. The project was jointly designed and supported by UW students/alumni and the Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos (Movement of Peasant Workers, MTC), a non-governmental organization based in San Marcos, Guatemala.

Since 2005, the University of Washington Guatemala Project raised more than $50,000 to contribute to education and opportunities for youth in San Marcos, Guatemala. This was made possible by our many generous donors and the patrons of our 2007 benefit auction.

History of the UW Guatemala Education Project (UWGEP)
This project, organized entirely at the initiative of students in the UW’s 2005, 2006, and 2007 Exploration Seminars and Study Abroad trips to Guatemala, aims to support primary and secondary education in Guatemala’s coffee-growing communities through a sustained commitment to youth empowerment. Designed in conjunction with the NGO Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos (MTC) in San Marcos, Guatemala, the project adopts an innovative, integral approach to education, recognizing that poor educational outcomes are not only a reflection of scarce funds for tuition, but also the frequent lack of community-based support for students. This project has involved two phases of support. The first phase involved empowering young leaders from 6 coffee-growing municipalities by engaging them in a regional support network and encouraging small-scale development projects of their own design. We supported these leaders through 14 youth scholarships. The second phase began in 2008, in which the UWGEP supported the MTC’s vocational training programs for youth in the San Marcos region.

In the wake of Hurricane Stan, which devastated this region of Guatemala in 2005, there has been a dramatic increase in emigration by teenagers and even younger children, who head north towards the United States to face an uncertain future. This project has sought to provide support for youth from the area to stay home and invest in their communities’ futures through education and leadership training. It also has provided important engaged-learning opportunities for UW students interested in development and NGO work. At every stage of the project’s organization, it has been run by UW students, working in close consultation with Prof. Godoy and the MTC in Guatemala. In the later phases of the project, Prof. Godoy has continued to communicate with the MTC regarding administration of funding for its youth education and vocational training programs.

2016: Youth Leadership Scholarships – Phase Three

In 2016, we are happy to launch Phase Three of the project, where the UW Center for Human Rights continues the partnership with Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos (Movement of Peasant Workers, MTC) to administer funding for education. For this 2016 school year, which initiated in January, ten youth leaders from the region of San Marcos, Guatemala, received scholarship funds supported by the UW Guatemala Education Project to complete formal education at the secondary, high school and university levels. Students were chosen by our partner organization, MTC. The 2016 award recipients are:

  • Cristina Ambrocio
  • Dulce Chan
  • Elda Domingo
  • Eliber Garcia
  • Gerver Jimenez
  • Geovany Lopez
  • Sandy Lopez
  • Eunice Miranda
  • Baudilia Roblero
  • Yaquelin Roblero
In 2011 the Guatemala Education Project sent $5,000 to the MTC to support another year’s worth of vocational training programs.
In 2010 the Guatemala Education Project sent $5,000 to the MTC to support another year’s worth of vocational training programs.
In 2009 the Guatemala Education Project sent $5,000 to the MTC to support another year’s worth of vocational training programs.
In 2008, the Movement of Peasant Workers (MTC) requested funding to support a Vocational Training Center, rather than the scholarships that were funded the previous year, so that the project could reach more youth. The Vocational Center hired Professor Baudilio Israel Recinos de Leon to oversee the vocational training and activities. Between July and December of 2008, the vocational center ran four main workshops: Carpentry, Cutting and Sewing, Computer Classes, and Beautician and Hair Cutting – all taught by certified professionals. The courses were designed to serve 120 children and youth, but due to a high interest in the programs, 164 children and youth were served – 88 young women and 76 young men. The table below shows how many attended each workshop.

Workshop Participation

Carpentry Workshop

30 Men/0 Women/ 30 Total

Sewing Workshop

42 Women/ 0 Men/ 42 Total

Computer Workshop

42 Men/ 16 Women/ 58 Total

Beautician Workshop

31 Women/ 1 Men/ 32 Total

Total Participants

88 Women/ 76 Men/ 164 Total
In addition to providing vocational workshops, the Vocational Center provided food and lodging for up to 36 youth at a time. Workshop participants that lived in remote areas and could not easily access the center were, therefore, still able to benefit from classes.
In 2007, 14 youth leaders from the region of San Marcos, Guatemala, received scholarship funds supported by the UW Guatemala Education Project. Students were chosen by our partner organization, Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos (Movement of Peasant Workers, MTC). Each of six regional associations received an equal share of funds and selected one or more students from their region. Scholarships could be applied to formal schooling, as well as learning useful crafts like weaving. The primary selection criterion was how much leadership the youth had demonstrated within the MTC. For example, preference was given to youth who held leadership positions in a regional Youth Council or Women’s Council. The scholarships were partial rather than full to provide incentive for students’ families to also invest in their children’s future; the goal was to reduce the burden of that investment on impoverished families, but not to supplant it altogether.

Scholarship recipients participated in regional discussions to identify small-scale development projects that could provide sustainable economic benefits to their communities. These discussions were facilitated by a mentor/adviser who provided regular support for the scholarship recipients, advising them in both their academic studies and community development work. One of the primary reasons students leave school is because they lack a support network of people who have completed schooling and can provide them the support they need to face its challenges. This project aimed to ameliorate the issue by encouraging students to develop and operate within broader community networks than may have otherwise been accessible to them. Small-scale development projects identified through this process were supported in the form of micro-financing for supplies. For example, modest projects were supported through a loan to purchase sewing machines or thread.

Human Rights Documentary Project

Glenda Pearson
UW Center for Human Rights volunteers are providing critical support to the UW Libraries as the Libraries seek to update the UW Human Rights Film Directory.  Through analyzing human rights-related documentaries available through the UW Libraries and reviewing these documentaries for inclusion in the HR Film Directory, volunteers are helping make these important works accessible to the public.  For many, documentary films are their first window into human rights issues and provide an important jumping off point for greater engagement with human rights. Glenda Pearson, one of CHR’s Steering Committee Members, is spearheading this project.

Right to Education Project

This project is composed of a variety of collaborations and initiatives with NGOs and grassroots organizations interested in safeguarding the right to education. Some of these organizations are further interested in the links between this and other human rights. UW CHR has provided training and other support to these organizations.

Seattle Young People’s Project Workshop:

UW CHR’s Glenda Pearson led a workshop for a group of young people in November of 2011 on how to use widely available research tools to conduct research about the school-to-prison pipeline and broader educational inequities. The workshop sought to empower SYPP’s YO 2.0 participants by teaching them how to access trustworthy information that they could later use to advocate for their rights.

Learning Resource Center in Loitokitok, Kenya

  • Kenya Resource Center
  • Kenya Resource Center
2011’s Caldwell Fellows helped with the construction of a Learning Resource Center in Loitokitok, Kenya. Fellows worked with members of the community to formulate the curriculum and classes started in late November, 2011.