ICA Guatemala reports on the Learning Basket Program


1.1. The overall goal of the Learning Basket program that was proposed to the Spencer Family, CAF America, Hopkins Family, Packard Family and other contributors; was to support actions to improve the quality of life of boys and girls 0 to 5 years of age in rural Guatemala; by delivering tools for parents to be the first teachers of their children. This is to be complemented with a program of family gardens in the villages of El Chorro, San Antonio La Paz, El Progreso of the Ladino area, village of Actzumbal / La Pista, Nebaj, of the Ixil Area, and village of Capucal Centro, La Unión, Zacapa of the Chortí area.

1.2. Expected Results:
a. Awareness and tools have been provided for 20 parents or caregivers of 5 year old boys and girls from the village El Chorro, Ladino area, 20 parents of families from Actzumbal / La Pista of the Ixil Area, and 20 parents of Capucal, La Union, Chortí area.

b. Technical assistance has been provided and 20 mini orchards have been created in El Chorro village.

c. Ten persons have been trained in group management with ToP® technology, from the Ixil area, the Chortí area, and the ladino area of El Progreso and Guatemala.

d. Ten people have been trained as Practitioners / Facilitators in the Learning Basket program, from the Ixil area, the Chortí area, and the Ladino area of El Progreso and Guatemala.

e. One event to socialize/promote the results achieved, aimed at villages surrounding El Chorro, San Antonio La Paz.


Results obtained
In each of the locations, most beneficiaries honored their commitment to attend the required number of sessions (8 sessions in two locations, 10 sessions in one location), and to participate and respect the variety of opinions.

The program began at the El Chorro village, with a pre-socialization event to present the program of family gardens and the Learning Basket sessions for parents, consisting of 10 sessions for 22 mothers of children and youngsters from La Telesecundaria (remote secondary schooling) and 22 youngsters who attended 6 primary sessions. Five special sessions were given to a group of 18 mothers of kindergarten children. Benefits were provided for 28 children, 0-to-5-year-old, directly through their mothers, and for an additional 40 children of families and neighbors. Overall, benefits were provided for 40 mothers, 22 youngsters, 13 to 15 years old, and 68 boys and girls.

Subjects taught: The Development of the Brain, The Five Senses, The Development Stages of Children 0-5 years old, First Aid with municipal Firefighters, Discipline and Limits with Love, Nutrition -mainly in the habits of eating fruit and vegetables, a nutritious dish called enchilada was cooked, based on vegetables, eggs, a bit of cheese and some chicken. For the closing, there was another vegetable-based dish with chicken, called Chow mein. Most mothers did crochet balls in the 3 primary colors, blue, yellow and red. They also created little felt faces. From September 2016 to November 2017.

In the village of Capucal Centro, 22 mothers participated, 2 fathers in some sessions. Other sessions, besides the Learning Basket, were REDES (networks), with the participation of Municipal Office for Women of La Union and SOSEP, headquartered in Zacapa, Office of Social Work of the President’s Wife, First Aid with municipal Firemen, and the manufacture of Toys. Direct beneficiaries were 20 boys and girls 5-12 years old, who attended classes with their mothers, 15 boys and girls 0-5 years old. From February to November 2017

In the village of Actzumbal, 20 mothers participated in the Learning Basket sessions, for the direct benefit of 16 boys and girls of 0-5 years, and more than 3 relatives and neighbors. Additional subjects to Brain Development, 5 Senses, Discipline and Limits with Love, were First Aid with the local nurse and manufacturing of Toys. From September 2016 to December 2017.

Training of 10 facilitators from Actzumbal La Pista de Nebaj; Capucal Center of La Union, El Chorro of San Antonio La Paz, six from Guatemala City, with the Course Group Facilitation Methods 2016. They also attended the Course Practitioners/Facilitators of the Learning Basket 2017. The latter course was also attended by one Chilean and one Peruvian participant.

Socialization Event, of the experience of El Chorro with representatives and COCODES (Community Development Councils) from two neighboring villages of El Chorro and authorities of San Antonio La Paz. The interesting part is that this event was organized as an Action Plan by the Telesecundaria youth and their parents. The mothers were in charge of the food with a commission of the young people, the youngsters were in charge of an exhibition on nutrients of good food and a lottery of vitamins and minerals, as well as sociodramas on the Development of a Baby’s Brain. Also, the beneficiaries of the family gardens exhibited their products and experience in their orchards. A total group of 75 participants.

Family Vegetable Gardens in el Chorro, 18 participants completed the project, planted crops such as onions, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, eggplant, chili peppers. In total, the number of direct beneficiaries were 80 people, including adults and children of the participating families and, indirectly, the other inhabitants of El Chorro.

Delivery of a cloth bag with materials to each of the 66 parents; a book Play to Learn, Learning to Play, by Dr. K. Elise Packard, a book of Stories, a set of little faces with flannel material, a set of colored balls, one crocheted, red, blue and yellow.

Delivery of a special folder to each head of family, with reading material on the Development of Children and Guides for Parents, the Stages of Development, recommendations on Listening to Music. In addition, a Diploma of Participation in the Program.

Delivery of materials to make two types of toys; threads and needles to crochet colored balls and felt to make the little faces.

Delivery of processes, pipes and cotton to build home-made grey-water filters, for watering vegetables.

Delivery of know-how and seeds to grow vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, red beets, coriander, eggplant, celery.

Coordination with different government institutions: With the Corporation and Municipal Office of Women of La Union, Zacapa and SOSEP (Office of Social Works of the Wife of the President) of Zacapa, with the Municipal Corporation of San Antonio La Paz, with the Community Development Councils and with the Volunteer Firefighters.

International contributions: On behalf of Mary and Don Hopkins to pay lodging and food for the facilitators of Peru and Chile, Coordination fees, lodging for a facilitator and demonstration sessions of the program. On behalf of George and Elise Packard, air tickets for the trainers Angélica Rodríguez and Raúl Jorquera, from Phoenix, Arizona to Guatemala and from Guatemala to Phoenix Arizona, as well as support in the methodology part of the program. On behalf of the trainers and local staff, part of the fees that were counterpart to the proposal.

For more information see: Final Report Learning for ICAI.PDF.

This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, April 2018.