In El Salvador and throughout the region, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of in-person classes for millions of students. The educational systems were not prepared for the shift online, due to a lack of skills in information technology and a lack of access to the internet and technological devices. The shift also aggravated existing disparities and inequalities for students, particularly girls, which include violence, poverty, unemployment, and youth pregnancy.
To combat these inequalities and academic lags, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is working with Asesorías a Programas y Proyectos de Desarrollo (ASPRODE) to promote human rights and education in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).
The first step was to analyze and diagnose the problems. We found that many students had little motivation to continue studying, weakened links to academic life, and weakened social-emotional skills.
We then identified an initial list of tutoring candidates and drafted lesson plans, which aimed to teach certain competencies.
PADF and ASPRODE then pull out a call for female tutors from universities across El Salvador. Over the course of a month, the selected 20 tutors were trained in the STEAM approach and how to teach human rights and critical thinking. They also received training in identifying and responding to cases of sexual abuse, helping students cope with stress and anxiety, and providing guidance to migrant students.
To make travel easier and ensure they are familiar with their students’ realities and needs, the tutors were matched with 227 female students in their areas of origin. The students belong to vulnerable communities throughout the territory of El Salvador.
As the project continues, we will follow up with the tutored students and their families and provide additional trainings for the tutors. We will also provide scholarships and financial assistance to students and tutors and are looking to bring on new project partners.
By expanding the project and making it accessible to more students across El Salvador, we are working to combat inequalities and reverse the pandemic’s effects on girls’ academic accomplishments and futures.
Published on August 8, 2022.
Senior Technical Lead, Regional Human Rights and Democracy Project
Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights Director
Director for Anti-Trafficking in Persons Programming