Hola a todos! My name is Henrietta and I am heading to the beautiful highland city of Quetzaltenango or Xela (as the locals call it) in Guatemala! I will be working with ChildFund International as a Program Officer intern where I will be working on their regional project on preventing the irregular migration of youth in Central America.
The project addresses the root causes that fuel irregular migration such as the high levels of violence, limited employment and educational opportunities, to social exclusion and a lack of information on the inherent dangers and human rights abuses of migrating without following immigration procedures. The project strives to improve the well-being of children and youth at risk of irregular migration in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. The project aims to achieve this through a combination of support to communities, child protection services, promotion of access to employment skills, capacity building opportunities along with encouraging youth participation with institutions locally, nationally and regionally to raise awareness to the causes and impacts of irregular migration.
My position will consist of working together with both the Guatemalan and regional project team. Some of my responsibilities include organisational support with logistics and facilitating community workshops, as well as supporting the organisation and implementation of municipal entrepreneurial fairs. In addition, I will be producing communications materials for the project such as translating, reviewing and editing organisation reports. I will be responsible for producing other written materials such as the tri-monthly bulletin and maintaining a Facebook virtual community to promote greater activity of youth participants. Excitingly, I will also be assisting the development and consolidation of a gender curricula with the project team and their partners in order to promote and mainstream gender in all project activities. Moreover, I will be working with consultants to compile research and data related to irregular migration in the region that highlight the causes, conditions and alternatives to irregular migration. From this, I will be preparing, supporting and carrying out advocacy activities related to the alternatives to irregular migration.
As an IDS student interested in understanding the structural and development reasons for migration patterns and being someone who is passionate about human rights and child protection, this co-op experience will be a great learning and professional opportunity. Not only am I thrilled to have this opportunity to expand my knowledge, I am excited to enhance and gain new professional and intercultural communication skills as well as make lasting connections in a new environment and community. I hope that I will be able to meaningfully contribute to my organisation and not to mention put my Spanish skills to the test! Throughout my co-op placement, I look forward to travelling around Guatemala and learning more about the Guatemalan culture, social realities, geography (Guatemala has 7 different climate zones!) and history along with trying all the wonderful food! I am extremely grateful and thankful for the support from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, Wu Yan Scholarship and ChildFund for making this placement possible.
You can follow ‘etta_in _guatemala’ on Instagram for updates on my adventures in Guatemala!