Child Aid invests in literacy and education programs because we believe curious kids can change the world. For more than two decades, Child Aid has worked to improve the quality of education in Guatemala’s indigenous communities. From the start, we recognized the link between illiteracy and systemic poverty, and saw the possibility to make a lasting impact in children’s lives through education.
Child Aid partners with elementary school teachers and the schools where they work to create vibrant classrooms full of literacy and learning. Our literacy and education programs focus on developing the core literacy skills and habits of reading that are so critical to lifetime learning. We stock classroom shelves with colorful, engaging books, train teachers in literacy instruction and support school programs that give students more opportunities to spend time reading and developing their skills.
Child Aid’s mission is social and economic development through literacy. Child Aid strives to improve primary school education in Guatemala through intensive teacher training and book provision. We focus on literacy because education has been shown to be the most effective long-term solution to alleviating poverty. We intervene in early grades where education makes the biggest impact on literacy and overall life chances. We focus on rural villages where the interconnected problems of poverty, discrimination and illiteracy disproportionately affect indigenous people, especially women. Our training creates layers of change agents including the children in the program, their teachers, the school community, and our own staff.
Guatemala will become a place where all children have an equal chance for a good education, an open future, and a secure life in a country of equal opportunity.
We offer education programs as described.
Education is the basic community issue. We decided to target education because better education has been shown by research to be one of the best drivers to eliminate intergenerational poverty and the impact of early grade education has been similarly shown to be the most effective place to intervene. Once that decision had been made, we found that the greatest lacks in the Guatemalan educational system were the poor training of classroom teachers and severely under-resourced classrooms. We work to address both of these interconnected problems.
Since 2010, we have worked with 211 partner schools, trained over 2,000 teachers who serve over 81,000 students. We have also delivered over 665,000 high quality, Spanish language, fiction and non-fiction books to classrooms and school libraries. We have conducted rigorous quantitative investigations that have demonstrated that students in schools served by Child Aid improve their reading comprehension to a statistically significantly greater degree than students in non-Child Aid schools.
We collect OUTPUT data through the use of standardized forms entered into a Salesforce database. This includes workshops provided; coaching sessions completed; and books delivered etc. We collect OUTCOME data through rigorously designed case-control studies of student learning (using a test designed and validated by USAID and the Ministry of Education) and through observationally-guided quantitative analysis of teacher performance, using the Stallings Classroom Snapshot instrument, developed at Stanford University.
Size and/or structure
In the past 10 years, we have grown from no permanent office to 3 offices; we have tripled our staff size; and we have developed a structure of office managers (gerentes); supervisors (asesores) and Literacy Trainers in each office -- a structure that allows more rapid expansion.
We have revised our curriculum and created a manual for Literacy Trainer facilitators. We have developed our Adventures in Reading (school break book club offering) to enlist teachers in schools to run the program during their vacation.
We have moved from a few schools in Solola, to schools served from our offices in Chimaltenango and Totonicapan as well.
We do not plan any expansion in 2021 but will begin hiring additional Literacy Trainers in the fall of 2021 for expansion beginning in 2022-2023.
The necessity of changing the ways we delivered our program during the pandemic led us to experiment with various modes of technology for program delivery and required us to make our program as streamlined as possible. The result is that we have found that we are able to deliver the same content in 3 rather than 4 years. This creates a need to rework and re-arrange and revise our curriculum, which will then be tested. This has already begun and will be finished during the next 12 months.
We will begin exploring possible new office locations in Quiche toward the end of the 12 month period.
Child Aid has grown slowly and deliberately with many "proof of concept" phases. We believe that we now have the structure; the program; and the key personnel to expand more rapidly. Our 3-5 year objectives are to expand into 3-4 more Departments in the Western highlands; to triple our budget; and triple the number of schools in which we are working.
The key challenge of expansion is the maintenance of quality. We are very aware of this and will be monitoring extremely closely -- through both formative and summative evaluation, as well as anecdotal evidence -- that the quality of our program does not diminish as we grow.
In addition to the impact on students, teachers, schools and communities of our work, at the furthest reach, we hope to continue to grow our association with various Departmental Directors in order to have an impact on MINEDUC approaches and policies.