Coming off a 36-year civil war and contending with a poverty rate of 60 percent, Guatemala must tap into the talents of its entire population to build a better future. However, the voices of its most marginalized community, rural Mayan girls, are too often left out of the conversation. Caught in a cycle of undereducation, racism, and intergenerational poverty, Mayan girls represent a significant talent gap in Guatemala.
MAIA’s Impact School aims to catapult talented young Mayan women from the shadows into leadership positions. MAIA’s innovative student-centered school includes a family engagement program that ensures that students achieve success with their families, not in spite of them. Prior to COVID-related restrictions, MAIA students were achieving two years of academic growth for every one year of schooling. The onset of COVID-19 accelerated MAIA’s use of technology prompting them to deliver internet-equipped tablets to all MAIA students—allowing them to broadcast their voices, perspectives, and leadership into new spheres.
In 2020, MAIA’s students have reached over 2 million radio listeners through livestreamed conversations with Ambassadors, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, elite athletes, influencers, and authors.
The indigenous talent gap in Guatemala hinders economic and social development. While representing approximately half of the country’s population, 90 percent of Maya Guatemala are trapped in the informal economy. Existing educational structures fail to connect talent with opportunity. Just 1 out of every 10 Maya girls reaches her high school graduation. Guatemala has among the lowest expenditures for public education, and it shows. Just 13 percent of all high school graduates in 2019 are considered proficient in math. One in four Maya women is illiterate. Global data demonstrates how the education of girls fuels economic growth. If women were to achieve the same level of participation as men in Guatemala, the national GDP would increase by $40 billion, translating into a per capita increase in income of $2,460, which is almost 50 percent more than the average wage today.
Recognized as the "Best School in the Americas" by the Zayed Sustainability Prize (2019)
Awarded the National Energy Globe winner for Guatemala and the Honnold Foundation Partnership (2020)
MAIA graduates and school leaders have been recognized by the UN and UNESCO for contributions to inclusive education
Launched Voz de MAIA podcast for Mayan girls to tell their own stories and advocate for a more inclusive society
MAIA Currently Seeks
Expertise and advice on communicating impact based on improved monitoring and evaluation processes
Strategic connections to funders interested in supporting and scaling MAIA’s work educating girls in Guatemala, particularly those with a special interest in indigenous populations and rural communities
Strategic business model advice to support a shift in business strategies to reach profitability.