What’s cooler than having your educational programs recognized and endorsed by Guatemala’s Ministry of Education?! NOTHING. Ok fine, there might be a few things that are more awesome (like hiking the Inca Trail or discovering a bag of all blue M&Ms), but this is pretty dang cool too.

Blue M&Ms

You know what doesn’t melt in your jean’s pocket when you forget about it and send it through the washing machine? A Ministry of Education certification!!                  Photo via Nutsinbulk.com

Let’s delve a bit deeper into what  this means, shall we? Last year, our team in Guatemala worked tirelessly all year long to put together a proposal for Guatemala’s Ministry of Education to gain certification for CoEd’s textbook, computer center and literacy programs. They had to compile detailed information about every teacher receiving training, an in-depth explanation of all of our programs, and even coordinated several field visits for the Ministry to visit various CoEd schools. All of their hard work paid off, and in November 2012, CoEd’s programs received official Ministry of Education certification!

Ministry Certification

Several members of the Guatemala team at the endorsement ceremony

So, why is this so “cool”? Basically it gives CoEd a ton of credibility. Schools and communities in Guatemala  are often suspicious of NGOs that come in and claim to want to help. In their experience, many NGOs don’t follow through on their promises, and how are they to know that CoEd is any different? With the Ministry of Education’s support, it will be much easier to be introduced to new communities, often with the help of a Ministry employee. This will cement our organization as trustworthy and responsible, and will ultimately help bring even more schools into the fold, furthering our mission to help Guatemala schoolchildren break the cycle of poverty through education.

CoEd has also received an official Ministry of Education number to put on our various documents, such as diplomas and teacher certifications. This recognizes our teacher training classes as legitimate and benefits the teachers, who are more likely to receive pay increases, promotions, etc. with this kind of credible training on their resumes.

Finally, this process has been an invaluable part of building our relationship with the Ministry of Education; it is a great way to be involved in various educational initiatives and policies enacted throughout Guatemala. For example, the Ministry has begun an exciting new program called “Leamos Juntos” or “Let’s Read Together”. To encourage a habit of reading, the Ministry will be providing reading books to primary schools around the country and have asked CoEd to partner with them!

These are just a few of the ways that this endorsement is furthering CoEd’s mission and influence in Guatemala, and we are excited to see what other cool things end up happening as a result!