Seven philanthropic organizations have joined forces to promote the recovery of education systems in Guatemala and Honduras.
Almost three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the slow return to full-time in-person classes has left millions of children and young people in Central America with limited access to quality education and all the services and support that come with it.
The new initiative is called RECARGA – Recuperando la Educación en Centroamérica: Activando Redes y Grupos Asociados (Educational Recovery in Central America: Supporting the Critical Role of Civil Society). This joint commitment of $1.5 million over three years will support local organizations to complement public education systems through innovation and technical leadership; by directly filling gaps to broaden inclusion; by providing wrap-around support to students; and by advocating for expanded access to quality education for all children.
While affirming that education is a basic right for all children and primarily the responsibility of governments, these seven funders – Tinker Foundation, The Summit Foundation, Global Fund for Children (GFC), International Community Foundation, Luis von Ahn Foundation, Focus Central America, and Vibrant Village Foundation – share the understanding that local civil society organizations play a wide range of key roles in supporting education, particularly in the aftermath of crises.
Data on the pandemic’s impacts on education, while still sparse, are alarming. The Ministry of Education in Guatemala recorded a 71 per cent increase in dropout rates in 2021, and the Honduran government estimates that, due to the slower pace of learning during the global health crisis, it will take seven years to reach reading milestones normally taught in two and 11 years for students to acquire basic math competencies. Emerging evidence suggests that the most damaging outcomes – social disconnection, learning loss, and dropouts – are concentrated among students who already faced significant barriers to educational access, including girls, Indigenous students, and children in rural areas.
‘As funders of RECARGA, the Covid-19 crisis has shown us that our collective response must be driven by trust in civil society partners who work in the areas hit hardest by the virus and its impacts. It is our responsibility to support these organizations and provide them with the resources they need to promote the recovery of local educational systems,’ said Rodrigo Barillas, Executive Director of the Luis von Ahn Foundation.
RECARGA is open to new members who wish to contribute to the pooled grant fund and participate in learning through the initiative. The RECARGA initiative is managed by GFC, which provides direct support to local organizations and facilitates networking, convening, and collaboration in Guatemala and Honduras.