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WALC = Women in Agroecology Leadership for Conservation

WALC is the flagship program of LPGM’s partner in the central highlands of Guatemala, Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC). For most young women in the rural villages of Alta Verapaz, education beyond sixth grade is out of reach. WALC provides training and scholarships that give girls access to the same opportunities as boys.

Agroecology = Agriculture + Ecology

Agroecology discourages slash-and-burn mono-cropping by promoting alternatives that
are more profitable, more nutritious, and more ecologically friendly.

Instead of hosting 300 young women for two on-campus, 25-day workshops, this year CCFC is offering these lessons to young women in weekly posts via WhatsApp, a mobile messaging app.

Each week, a team of Advanced WALC interns produces and sends out new lessons for the curriculum including Health, Integral Ecology, Agroecology, and Life Project. Each lesson includes an audio message, a slide, a worksheet, and a practical activity to do with the family.

Through WhatsApp, each intern leads a group of young women through the lessons and activities. They receive the completed weekly worksheets and follow up with their students. Step by step, they hope to improve the quality of life across the highlands.

WALC Interns Practice what they preach

WALC interns cultivate the CCFC forest gardens. Yolanda and Aracely work up a bed to divide arracach. Jessica and Rosalia weed the sweet potatoes and prepare a seed bed for cilantro. Angelica and Elsie transplant naranjilla and pacaya palm in the shadiest bed. Vilma and Elida divide and transplant samaat. They divide and
multiply traditional crops for distribution to student participants in WALC, for planting in their own gardens.

Teacher Workshops

CCFC held a week of socially distanced, masked teaching workshops for a network of middle and high school teachers. Together they explored questions like: How do we educate in times of pandemic? How can we effectively use technology to teach practical, hands-on and group activities as well as lessons for individuals? How can we teach environmental education using distance learning with actual practical tasks to restore integral ecology to our common home?

New Improved bicycle mill

WALC interns can now get their gym workout in the CCFC kitchen, while at the same time grinding the cornmeal for the next meal’s tortillas! Bicycle power makes a daily chore much faster, a lot easier, and lots of fun! Here, Rob gives the bicycle mill a spin.

Author Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry

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