We provide transformative workshops dedicated to empowerment and gender equity for youth living in Guatemala. Through our workshops and programs, youth develop the knowledge, skills, and courage they need to make informed life-choices and reach their highest potential. We run all of our programs in partnership with local schools and organizations in some of Guatemala’s most marginalized and at-risk communities. Our in-depth curriculum runs weekly over the course of three years and fosters the development of self-esteem, personal agency, social-emotional development, human rights advocacy, violence prevention, leadership, and activism.
Our mission is to end gender inequality by supporting the empowerment of youth in Guatemala to reach their highest potential and become innovative leaders dedicated to the creation of safe, equitable, and just communities.
Our vision is a world where all children can reach their highest potential and safe, equitable, and just communities are the norm.
We provide consultation services for schools and organizations on girl empowerment, sexual and reproductive health, feminism, positive masculinity, violence prevention, social emotional education, among other topics.
We run empowerment, self-esteem and leadership workshops and programs in collaboration with local schools and NGOs. All of our programs are based on our transformative 12 core modules and implemented by our certified local staff.
SERniña is dedicated to eradicating gender inequality in Guatemala, as well as the disempowerment of girls women and violence towards girls and women.
SERniña by REALgirl was created to be a support program to schools, public programs, and other non-governmental organizations to take on a holistic approach to girls’ empowerment and address the challenging and dangerous issues facing girls in Guatemala, such as low self-esteem rates leading to risky behaviours, girls entering into unhealthy and violent relationships with older men, high pregnancy rates, high dropout rates, high rates of domestic and sexual abuse, and extremely strong societal pressure to have girls/women staying at the home and not pursuing their own futures.
Despite the existence of strong education programs in Guatemala, there exists a void in the current developmental structures of Guatemala –a history of machismo and patriarchal societal structures has left very little focus on girls’ empowerment. Girls in Guatemala face not only challenging but dangerous issues, such as low self-esteem rates leading to risky behaviors, girls entering into unhealthy and violent relationships with older men, high pregnancy rates, high dropout rates, high rates of domestic and sexual abuse, and extremely strong societal pressure to have girls/women staying in the home and not pursing their own futures. Conversations with social workers, psychologists, teachers and mothers revealed that though Guatemala is moving forward on economic and social metrics, programming that explicitly addressed the needs of girls was missing. This was holding back schools, communities, and the country.
SERniña was launched in 2015 to fill that void; it was created to be a support program to schools, public programs, and other non-governmental organizations to take on a holistic approach to girls’ empowerment and address the issues facing girls in Guatemala. SERniña is not its own school, nor an independent program. Instead, it is a support program to provide pre-existing educational organizations with its expertise and services, so educational organizations of Guatemala can fully support the girls in their programs.
At this point, SERniña has reached over five thousand kids through short-term workshops, and has had more than one-thousand youth attend the year-long programs. The results are entirely positive. Perhaps the clearest quantitative result lies in pregnancy rates: despite 44% of Guatemalan girls having a child before they are 20, less than 1.5% of girls in the SERniña program have become pregnant.
Other results include improved scores in self-esteem assessments across genders, increased dedication to academic studies, and improved resiliency. After graduating our programs, not only do youth have the confidence, knowledge and skills to transform their lives, they have also developed the needed skills and commitment to step-up as agents of positive change in their families, schools, and communities. This is the ripple effect of SERniña, we are not only fostering the empowerment of youth and children, we are working towards creating more equitable communities and a safer and stronger Guatemala.
Since 2015, SERniña has reached over five-thousand children and youth in Guatemala through short-term workshops, and more than one-thousand through year-long programs.
- SERniña has partnered with over twenty different communities across Guatemala
- 75% of SERniña participants demonstrate an improved score in their self-esteem assessments.
- 94% of girls continue in school the year following SERniña, compared to the national average of 44%.
- Less than 1.5% of SERniña graduates have become pregnant as teenagers, as compared to the national average of 44% of girls becoming pregnant before the age of 20.
- 85% of boys demonstrated an improved emotional intelligence.
Quantitative Measurement Tools:
- Pregnancy Rates
- School Retention Rates
- Teacher Quantitative Participation Surveys
- Self-Esteem Evaluations
- Resiliency Evaluations
- Menstrual Health Attitudes & Knowledge Evaluations
- Sexual Health Attitudes, Knowledge & Behaviors Evaluations
**All evaluations are peer-reviewed and internationally accredited evaluations. Our quantitiative measurement strategy was designed by a group of Doctors from the University of Saint Louis
Qualitative Measurement Tools:
- Weekly Facilitator Observation Sheets
- School Stakeholder Interviews
- Participant Focus Groups
- Participant Interviews
- On-going Problem Solving & Discussion with all key stakeholders
- Student work evaluations
When we began we offered a 10 week program for girls. Now, we offer full-year weekly programs for girls and boys. Our core program spans three full years (SERniña/SERniño SERlideresa/SERlider SERelCambio). We also work with teachers and parents.
When we began we only worked in Antigua. We now work in La Guardiania, El Hato, Jocotenango, Alotenango and Tecpan full-time. We have also led special projects throughout all of Guatemala.
When we began we primarily worked with girls ages 12-22. Now, we work primarily with younger girls (ages 8-14) and we work with boys of the same age group. We have also begun working with parents and teachers.
Ways In Which We Collaborate With Others
As our programs expand and we have now created a well-vetted and highly scalable curriculum we are now more open than ever for collaborations. We are always open to training new partners in our curriculum and methodologies and partnering to diversify our work.
- Due to COVID19 we do not plan on growing to new communities at this time.
- To partner with more independent organizations to train their teams in our methodologies to bring SERniña to more schools and youth in a sustainable way.
- We have worked extremely hard on ensuring the quality of our program. As every year we are constantly working to enhance and further advance our curriculum and offerings. We will be continuing with normal strategies to do so in the coming year.
- To provide on-going empowerment, leadership and self-esteem support to over 300 youth.
- To provide COVID-safe empowerment and health education to five Guatemalan communities.
- To provide comprehensive support (legal and psychological) to teen and child vicitms of abuse.
- We plan to grow deeper, not higher. We will not be launching SERniña-led initatives in new communities at this time. (However we are open to partnering with existing organizations to train their teams.)
- To deepen our roots in existing partner communities and offer even more comprehensive support to each community, as needed.
- Continue to develop new approach and more comprehensive support to each community as discovered by on-going needs assesments and data collection.
- To provide empowerment, leadership, and self-esteem support programs to over 500 children every year.
- To provide transformative trainings for educators and support staff.
- To provide comprehensive support (legal and psychological) to teen and child victims of abuse.