PoP’s Guatemala Projects Manager, Sam Tabory, shares with us the importance of engaging with local governments. Read more below…
As part of the Guatemala Projects Team, I can tell you that engaging with local governments is becoming a larger and larger part of what we do and how we carry out our projects. Which is as it should be. It is a powerful thing to watch communities and local governments come together to tackle issues and increase access to quality education. And when we as an organization can help facilitate that coming together, all the better. The more we involve local municipal governments in our collaborative work with communities, the closer we are to empowering local solutions that have lasting impact.
So here are some reasons why we think it’s important to work with local and municipal governments:
1. Engaging local governments allows us to invest more stakeholders in the long-term success of our projects. When more people care about the success of the classrooms we help communities build, the more likely it is that those classrooms will serve the community and produce real impacts for years to come.
2. Collaborating with local governments allows us to work with communities as they learn the ins and outs of working with government and outside entities. The process becomes a capacity building tool so that communities feel more familiar with, and confident about, soliciting government support for community-based projects in the future.
3. More government involvement allows us to communicate the importance of education as a development theme worthy of public and government consideration. If we can convince even one small-town mayor to make improving access to education the cornerstone achievement of his time in office, Guatemala will be a better place for it.
All of this is to say that PoP relies on a system of community ownership and institutional involvement to ensure that the schools we build with communities will be around for a long time. Local government involvement is just one more piece of that puzzle. The PoP movement in Guatemala is strong, and we hope it will get stronger still as we bring more and more municipal governments along for the ride.
After studying Spanish and Latin American Studies in college, Sam Tabory headed south to work as a project director for a community development organization in Ecuador. He joined PoP’s team in Guatemala as projects manager in August 2012.