Learning by Doing: Building a Learning Culture to Serve Youth in Guatemala

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Author(s):
Felix M. Alvarado
Organization(s):
Date Published:
December 11, 2019
Contribution:
Community Contribution

USAID's 2015 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) gave Vitruvian Consulting LLC, Universidad Galileo and Asociación Mundo Posible an opportunity to apply CLA in Guatemala. Punto Crea helps youth master skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) through semi-structured learning challenges, supported by local tutors and specialized facilitators.

CLA addresses two project questions: can STEAM learning be embedded in resource-poor environments, and can implementation be sustainable? Collaboration is critical for partners to benefit from each other's expertise. Learning and adaptation lets us improve an intervention designed and implemented from scratch, focuses team effort across three organizations, and helps communicate our vision to stakeholders.

Sharing knowledge through online documentation is critical. Handbooks and learning resources grow as public online documents, open to improvement based on lessons from implementation.

We built a single team culture across partners through task-oriented leadership. Training activities let members experience the thinking we wish to foster among youth. Online planning and tracking are instrumental. Rather than waiting for perfect tools, we started with a shared spreadsheet and adopted more sophisticated resources as needs increased.

CLA has effects on all partners. We have learned from each other and from outcomes in communities and extended our skills and experience to other activities. We have improved our ability to design projects as learning processes. As we move from design to expansion, skills and tools of collaboration and learning are helping us incorporate lessons from previous activities into each new location established.

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