The Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) is one of the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district projects in Rotary.  More than 650 clubs and 80 districts have been working together since 1997 to improve education for underserved students in Guatemala. Clubs from 8 countries provide funds and "boots on the ground" support.  In that time, more than 261,000 students have been served through four tested, proven, and sustainable programs. Claire Parrish described how the grant facilitates work by an NGO called Cooperative for Education.
Rice Lake Rotary joined the GLP in 2019 when it was seeking an international project.  The club pledged $8,000 per year for 5 years.  As a result, Rice Lake was approached to host the project.  A grant will be submitted in March covering the next school year.
Claire told our club that she plans to travel to Guatemala on a GLP trip to observe and work.  She expressed excitement that RI President Jennifer Jones will be on the trip.
The GLP has 3 tiers by grade:  K-6, 7-9, 9-12.  The goal of phase 1 is to establish key literacy skills.  Teacher training is an important component.  Nationally in Guatemala there are 207 textbook projects, 53 computer centers, 94 reading programs, and 731 Rise scholars.  Claire noted that communities must commit to provide financial support for the programs.
Upper grades programs provide more individual emphasis, with supporters able to help a student for multiple years.  The role of supporters is to provide the means for students to stay in school, which affords the student the ability to qualify for better jobs with the literacy skills they acquire.  While the program operates throughout Guatemala, the main geographic region is the mountainous western highlands.  Programs are concentrated in that area.
Claire said that students "rent" textbooks to spread the cost over multiple years, which helps to sustain the program.  The impact of GLP is significant:  without GLP, student graduation rate is 20%; with GLP support, it rises to 80%.
About the Speaker:  Claire Parrish's day job is working as the Public Services Director at the Rice Lake Public Library and her passion for literacy is what led to Rice Lake's involvement with the GLP.  In addition to all things reading, she enjoys cooking and going on adventures with her husband and 7-month old son.