In Guatemala I discovered the power of technology to transform lives!
Diane Manning | June 01, 2017
As the MobileIron Marketing localization manager, I work with our people across the globe to make sure that our content sings in many languages and markets. Naturally, I jumped when I got the chance to travel to Antigua, Guatemala, to amplify the work of women leading change globally.
In early March I traveled to Antigua as a volunteer advisor with the Tech2Empower Workshop for Women’s Rights. The Workshop was organized by the Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange (WAKE), a San Francisco nonprofit that connects female leaders to technology, networks, training and resources.
Silicon Valley teams up to coach female activists
Together with 11 women from the tech industry, including representatives from GE Digital, Google, Salesforce, and YouTube, we put on a two-day workshop where we trained and coached 34 activists representing 22 women’s rights NGOs from seven countries across Latin America. These organizations collectively reach more than 100,000 women worldwide. Topics included practical training such as how to use Google collaboration tools and Canva, as well as less tangible skills like storytelling and how to create and deliver an elevator pitch. My topic was online safety and security, and I’m proud to say that I delivered my presentation in Spanish!
During my 10 days in Guatemala I also visited the Starfish Impact School in Panajachel, which is Guatemala’s first all-girl secondary school dedicated to providing a comprehensive college preparatory education to young indigenous women from low-income, traditionally marginalized communities.
Enabling “girl pioneers”
According to the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum, only 10 percent of indigenous girls who live in rural communities enroll in secondary school and less than one percent continue on to university. Starfish is enabling their “girl pioneers” to overcome previously insurmountable obstacles to obtain an education and empower themselves as future leaders in their communities and in Guatemala as a whole.
We shared our personal experience and advice on how women can succeed in a male-dominated environment. Attendees were trained on interview skills, pitching their business, and collaboration tools.
Most memorably, we visited the homes of several girls where we cooked and shared a modest meal with their families. This experience helped me to understand just how courageous these girls are to blaze a new trail and a create a future that could change their lives.
MobileIron’s flexible vacation policy allowed me to participate in this program. It was an unforgettable experience, which will continue as I participate in follow-on training and virtual support for these women’s rights leaders via our participant Facebook Group.