Intensive Training opportunity through Let Girls Lead – Honduras


We are pleased to share a new opportunity in Honduras through Let Girls Lead. Let Girls Lead is requesting applications from leaders ages 16-60 to participate in an intensive training program that will strengthen capacity to implement strategies to improve health policy advocacy, human rights, and the social and economic well-being of adolescents. Let Girls Lead is looking for leaders who work in the following areas: human rights, sustainable development, sexual and reproductive health, youth development, micro-credit, public policy advocacy, lobbying, media, education, leadership, gender and other related areas.

The deadline to apply is June 5, 2015. For more information and to download an information sheet and the selection criteria, visit the website of Let Girls Lead:, or contact the Let Girls Lead Country Representative in Honduras, Vanessa Siliezar at

CAMY Fund Visit to ALAS/WINGS in Guatemala

Written by Emily Barcklow D’Amica, CAMY Fund Program Officer

On my recent trip to Guatemala I had the opportunity to see first-hand the work of ALAS/WINGS, one of the CAMY Fund’s grantees. Early in the morning on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 Michele Frix, SIF’s Director of Programs, and I headed off to Cobán in the northern state of Alta Verapaz.

Panoramic view of Cobán, Alta Verapaz.

We reached the city (population: 144,461) in the afternoon and headed to the WINGS office to meet their team. We knew Fidelia Chub, the project leader for the CAMY Fund, but had not yet met her colleagues: Kimberly Morales, Director of Programs, Dominga Torres Morales, who is a Peer Educator along with Fidelia, and Ana Iczep, who is a Health Promoter with the organization. The next day, Michele and I joined Kimberly and Fidelia on a visit to the nearby community of Tanchi in order to meet with some potential youth leaders and their mothers. Cobán’s streets quickly gave way as we bounced along a lush-green gravel road. The meeting was held inside the home of a WINGS health promoter, Doña Olga Chocoj, in a large room where she can meet privately with women and men from the community seeking out family planning methods. Four young women between the ages of 16 and 20 had been recruited by Doña Olga to participate in WINGS’ youth network. They were accompanied by two of their mothers who were there to learn more and give permission for them to participate in the network’s first training the following week. Fidelia spoke to the mothers and young women in their native Q’eqchi’, though the young women also spoke Spanish. She shared with them about WINGS’ mission, the upcoming training for peer educators, as well as the expectations for these youth leaders in their communities. The young women had been selected because they are all role models in their communities and are interested in working with their peers to increase their access to reproductive health services and reduce teen pregnancy.

Young women in Tanchi, Alta Verapaz selected to participate in WINGS’ youth network.

The young women timidly, but enthusiastically, shared about their interest in joining the network and participating in the upcoming training in Coban. They all had previous experience as peer educators with another local NGO that works to improve maternal health and promote girls’ empowerment.
While the rest of us ate sweet tamales and café prepared by our hostess, Fidelia carried out her standard supervisory visit in Q’eqchi’ with Doña Olga in order to review the monthly clinical records of community members who had sought out family planning services and refill her stock of contraceptive methods.

Fidelia and Doña Olga Chocoj review the patient records and contraceptive methods disseminated during the last month.

At the end of the visit we said goodbye to Doña Olga and the young women and their mothers, wishing them well at the upcoming training. Both Michele and I were deeply impressed by the level of organization and professionalism that Fidelia demonstrated. She seemed equally comfortable speaking with the young women who are only a couple of years younger than her, as with their mothers and Doña Olga. It was clear to us that Fidelia is not only a valuable member of the WINGS team, but also a recognized leader within her community.

Fidelia Chub, CAMY Fund project leader.

On Friday, March 13, Michele and I met with the WINGS team in their Antigua office. We spoke with the organization’s Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Bernarda Jimenez, also a former iLeap Fellow, as well as Shilpa Kothari, the organization’s Development Director. We appreciated learning about the past several years of WINGS’ work, how their organization has grown and developed, and their plans for the future.

The post-script to this entry is that a week later, back in Mexico City, Fidelia asked me to participate by Skype in the inauguration at the youth leaders training. The training was a great success, with 134 young people present from 61 communities in the municipalities of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Carcha, Cobán and Chisec.

Inauguration of youth training.

Congratulations to Fidelia and the WINGS team for their commitment to empowering young people through education, in Alta Verapaz and throughout Guatemala!


Scholarship and travel opportunity!

The Central American Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) sets aside money every year to fund two travel grants for scholars in Central America who would like to attend the annual conference. LASA especially encourages students to apply for these awards. To apply, please submit a C.V. and a cover letter describing your research, the paper you plan to present at the conference and financial need. The deadline to receive your application is February 13, 2015. The section officers will review the applications, and we will notify the winners in early March. If you receive a grant, you must then become a member of the Section (the cost is $10).

Please submit the required application materials to the co-chairs, Claudia Rueda ( and Sonja Wolf (  Please note, If you received a travel grant from LASA to attend this year’s conference, you are not eligible to apply for a section grant.


CAMY Fund Visit to Red + Posithiva

Written by Emily Barcklow D’Amica, CAMY Fund Program Officer

Last week I was in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico to see first-hand the work of the organization Red + Posithiva, one of the CAMY Fund grantee partners. Red + Posithiva’s project, “By bringing health closer, we can make better decisions,” is led by Antonio Ordoñez, who is 30 years old. Antonio is a clinical psychologist with a Masters in family therapy. He worked for various years for the governmental System for Comprehensive Family Development (DIF) in Cozumel, Quintana Roo and the project with Red + Posithiva is his first time working within a civil society organization.

On Tuesday, January 20, Red + Posithiva organized a press conference at the Hotel Oasis Smart to publicly present the project. On the presidium was Roberto Guzmán, Director of Red + Posithiva, Antonio, as the project leader, myself on behalf of the CAMY Fund and Yadira Chávez Courtois who is responsible for family planning within the Number 2 Health Jurisdiction. The media coverage (represented by Noticias Canal 10 and Novedades Quintana Roo) was good and the media that were present were open and curious about the project being presented.

The next day, January 21, Antonio and his co-workers and I left early for the community, Tres Reyes, on the western side of Cancun. The majority of the community is comprised of people from other states who have come to work in the Cancun tourist zone. The housing plots are irregular and quite precarious and public services are limited. Red + Posithiva had selected the local primary school, “Otilio Montaño,” as their contact with the community because of their important social role and capacity to convene inhabitants of the zone. The Directors of the school, Jorge Manuel Caamal Pecho in the morning rotation and Samuel Noé Coba Tun in the afternoon rotation, proved very open to the organization and committed to the project’s activities, which consist in offering cognitive-behavioral workshops to girls between the ages of 10-12 on sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as youth-friendly services to them and their family members (sisters, mothers, etc.) by means of the organization’s mobile health unit.

Red + Posithiva’s mobile unit, ready to head off to the community. 1-21-15.

Once we had arrived and the Mobile Unit was set up the activities began with a small inaugural presentation where Roberto spoke again about the organization, Antonio about the project and I about the support provided by the Fund. The school’s Directors accompanied us and encouraged the participation of the family members present in the day’s activities. The event ended with a brief original rap song with a women’s empowerment message sung by two members of a local group.

Rap song sung at the end of the inaugural event in the community, Tres Reyes, Cancun. 1-21-15

Following, the youth-friendly services and workshops began. The services were provided by a psychologist that had recently finished a diploma course on how to provide them, organized by Red + Posithiva. Also, members of the Red + Posithiva team trained to provide rapid HIV tests offered this service.

Antonio, the project leader, speaks with the psychologist trained by Red + Posithiva on how to offer care to the list of people that had registered for counseling.

The workshops were designed by Antonio and provided by him along with other members of the Red + Posithiva team.

Antonio offers a workshop on violence and discrimination to girls at the primary school in Tres Reyes. 1-21-15

I greatly enjoyed seeing Antonio and Red + Posithiva in action! They were very creative in resolving the complications that inevitably arise in any project and are clearly very committed to providing high-quality information and services to the community. They have built alliances with the health and education sectors that could contribute to the sustainability of the project and a lasting change.

Congratulations to Antonio and Red + Posithiva!

Request for Concept Notes | Leadership Development Programs for Central American Leaders

The Seattle International Foundation (SIF) is requesting concept notes from organizations interested in co-designing and implementing a leadership development program for Central American leaders in senior positions at NGOs in the region.  SIF seeks to train and support local leaders (known as “Seattle Fellows”) with the potential to lead transformational change within the organization and communities they serve.  Concept notes must be submitted through our online grants portal ( by December 10, 2014 (5:00 pm Seattle time).  Concept notes will be accepted in English or Spanish. Please click here to download the official Request for Concept Notes detailing the program and qualifications to apply.

How to Submit a Concept Note:

Please follow these instructions to submit a concept note.

  • Proceed to our online grants system (
  • Click ‘Create a New Account‘, if you do not already have an account
  • Once you are signed in, click ‘Apply‘ in the top left corner of the dashboard
  • Click on the application form entitled ’2014 Leadership Development in Central America | Desarrollo de liderazgo en Centroamerica’..
  • You can save your work and return at any time.  Once you are ready to submit, click on ‘Submit
  • Concept notes are due no later than 5:00 pm on December 10, 2014 (Seattle time).
  • Concept notes submitted in any other format besides through the online portal will not be reviewed.
  • Please review this document (Request for Concept Notes) thoroughly prior to sending questions to SIF staff.
  • Any clarifications or questions related to this request for concept notes can be directed to

Women are agents of change in Guatemalan society


By Michele Frix, director of programs of the Seattle International Foundation

Originally published in Spanish in LOOK Magazine Guatemala, May edition.

I asked you, my dear readers, to share the meaning of International Women’s Day and to participate in a contest through Look Magazine for the prize of $1,000 for an organization in Guatemala that works to empower and support women and girls. Based on the letters received, the participants nominated the best organizations, and one was selected.

We have a winner from our March contest! It was inspiring to see the way in which you, the readers, represent the power and influence of women in Guatemalan society, and due to this, the decision was difficult. However, several readers and one organization were outstanding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Voz Electoral: the voice that informed and brought you closer to citizenship


Written by: Fernando Santos, Journalist, Guazapa Radio 92.1 F.M. “The Voice of Progress”

Guazapa Radio, as an alternative medium of communication in El Salvador that is “committed to be the voice of the voiceless”, as once said by the Archishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, has once again served its audience through the special program “Voz Electoral” (or “Electoral Voice”) which was produced and broadcasted during the first and second round of the presidential elections.

This program was possible thanks to the collaboration of a team of more than 20 young people, who are very enthusiastic and aware of the social responsibility of community media. Voz Electoral informed the population of the northern regions of San Salvador and southwest municipalities of Chalatenango about the details of the 2014 presidential elections.

The elections were held in two rounds. The law governed by the Electoral Code, Article 216, establishes that if the winner does not receive 50% of the votes, there has to be a second round, with the top two candidates who received the highest number of valid votes in the running.

The first presidential elections held by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) were on February 2, 2014. Salvadorans went to the polls to choose their president among five candidates; four right-wing candidates and one left-wing (Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional FMLN).

Read the rest of this entry »

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Central American Women’s Leadership (CAWL) Program


If you meet each of these requirements or know someone who does, please feel encouraged to complete an application for this unique opportunity!

  • Are you a leader living and working in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica or Panamá?
  • Do you have more than five years of experience working in leadership in NGOs or grassroots organizations?
  • Are you committed to building positive social change in your community?
  • Are you between 25 and 42 years old?
  • Do you carry out conversations at an intermediate level of English?
  • Are you available in September 2014 to travel to Seattle, USA to participate in an intensive training for eight weeks?


The Central America Women’s Leadership (CAWL) program  is a partnership between iLEAP and the Seattle International Foundation. iLEAP is now accepting applications to participate in this intensive training in leadership and social innovation for Central American leaders. These Central American women leaders will be a part of the international group of 15 iLEAP fellows from Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is a global, unique and intercultural experience, based in Seattle.

This program is comprehensive. By providing a balance between personal and collective reflection, learning through dialogue and communication training and effective leadership training is guaranteed. Our fellows will return to their home renewed and with new tools to lead their communities. The fellows have a clear commitment to themselves, what they do and global change. The training will be held in Seattle, Washington from September 29 to November 21, 2014. All expenses will be covered by the fellowship.

The application deadline is April 13, 2014. To apply, visit the online application:

For more information, please visit:

If you have any questions about the iLEAP CAWL program, please contact iLEAP at:

**This scholarship is contingent upon funding approval**

A new perspective for a new year

By Michele Frix, director of programs at the Seattle International Foundation

Originally published in Spanish in LOOK Magazine Guatemala, January edition.

For Michele Frix, the beginning of a new calendar year does not mean creating the typical list of resolutions, it is creating a new sense of life based of experiences and from last year. Frix shares from Seattle, the turn her life will take from what she left in 2013.

I am not afraid to admit that I have never been very good at New Year’s resolutions. I tend to make a laundry list of things to accomplish such as growing a garden in my backyard, practicing more yoga, eating more vegetables, taking my vitamins, reading more books, and of course a classic for many people: get more exercise.

This year I have decided to take a new approach to my New Year’s resolutions. Rather than a list of things to accomplish, I am creating a list of people who inspire me and have taught me lessons in 2013. That way, these life lessons will serve as a base for my actions and attitude during 2014.

I have the great pleasure to work for a foundation based in Seattle that supports individual leaders and organizations in Central America. This past year in particular was filled with many “firsts” for me. I was pushed to a new limit professionally and personally, and at times I found myself asking, “Can I really do this?”. It was always my friends and colleagues in Central America that reminded me why this work was important. But more importantly, they inspired me to look for new ways to think about life – they inspired me. Each of the following resolutions, or mantras, is inspired by them in this unique and beautiful corner of the world.

  1. Look for the similarities with others, not differences: From the Maya and the Xinca of Guatemala, to the Garifuna on the Caribbean coast and the Guna of Panama, one of Central America’s greatest attributes is the richness from the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity. Severe challenges go along with such a wide array of peoples and cultures, and history in Central America is evidence of this. I am reminded by friends who come from or work in indigenous communities to seek unity in diversity. We can achieve so much more by working together, rather than against one another. At times our differences can be blinding, but for me, 2014 is a year to look for what unites us, not divides us.
  2. Value context, because it is everything:   Read the rest of this entry »

JOB OPENINGS: Central America Women’s Fund, Global Fund for Children


Program Officer, Ola Joven
Central America Women’s Fund (FCAM)

The Program Officer (PO) works closely with the Program Coordinator to ensure the strategic, responsible, and innovative implementation of donation programs to organizations and partner organizations. The Ola Joven Program is FCAM’s largest grantmaking and strengthening program, in terms of the number of supported organizations. Ola Joven has two Program Officers, whom share responsibilities of the program itself.

The deadline for applications is February 7, 2014. Click here for more information about the position and how to apply. 


Program Officer, Women and Transnational Families, and Capacity Building
Central America Women’s Fund (FCAM) 

The Program Officer (PO) works closely with the Program Coordinator to ensure the strategic, responsible, and innovative implementation of donation programs to organizations and partner organizations.The main responsibilities of the Program Officer include coordinating and facilitating capacity building activities developed by FCAM wiith its partner organizations, and support its allies programs.

The deadline for applications is February 7, 2014. Click here for more information about the position and how to apply. 


Associate Program Officer
Global Fund for Children

GFC has an immediate opening for an individual with exceptional talent, commitment, and drive to fill the role of associate program officer for Central America and Mexico to support and strengthen GFC’s grantmaking program in that region. Reporting to the program officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, the associate program officer will primarily be responsible for overseeing a subset of the grantee portfolio and supporting team-wide programs and initiatives in the region. The position is based in Washington, DC.

Click here for more information and how to apply. 

About the blog:
This blog was created to support the Central America Network and encourage dialogue around relevant research, news and poverty alleviation efforts in the region.
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