Project Impulso – A program to unlock girls’ transformational power!

The MAIA and Girl Pioneers’ story

“In our context [rural areas of Guatemala], it is often the case that when a young woman graduates from primary school, she will not continue studying in middle and high school,” shares Roselia Toj, Director of Success Programs at the MAIA Impact School.
Structural barriers, limited economic resources, discrimination, and a culture of machismo threaten girls’ ability to continue studying and achieve their goals.

At MAIA, we are committed to identifying outliers, girls at risk of ending their education after primary school, who will shift paradigms and set a bold new standard of expectations when provided with concrete opportunities to learn and grow. We call these young women Girl Pioneers. “The meaning for MAIA is that change begins with them — they are pioneers because they become an example and role models for other girls and young people in their community,” continues Roselia.

After the selection process, these ambitious young women join a year-long preparatory program: Proyecto Impulso. “The main goal of this initiative is to respond to the low quality of education in Guatemala by accompanying and leveling the academic preparation of every new generation of Girl Pioneers to build the knowledge and tools they need to succeed,” explains Roselia.

The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, and in Guatemala, public education has been interrupted for nearly two years, widening the existing gap. “When joining the MAIA Impact School, Girl Pioneers do not have the basic skills they need to be able to start secondary school. For this, we focus specifically on strengthening and developing their abilities in literacy, mathematics, English, and technology,” says Celestina Poz, Coordinator and Educator in​​ mathematics.

Along with building a strong academic foundation, mentors consistently work alongside Girl Pioneers and their families to create a common vision of their future centered around her education. “When a Girl Pioneer begins her journey of empowerment through Proyecto Impulso, families and girls experience many fears and doubts,” states Roselia. Through different strategies, tools, and techniques, the team of mentors provides personalized support and guidance in developing transversal skills to manage their emotions and resolve difficult family situations.

Celestina sends a message to all Girl Pioneers: “You ALL are the present and future of Guatemala. When embarking on a bold new trajectory, you will ignite change in your communities and the world!”

Empowered Women, an Infinite Impact!