Tomá Tu Parte (Take Your Part)
by Ana María Vásquez Gutierrez
According to 2017 statistics from Think with Google, there are 41 million internet users, which is 53% of the population in Central America. Also, in 2017, the World Bank reported that young people (22 to 38 years old) were 63% of the total population in Central America and the Caribbean. However, in Guatemalan and Argentinian schools and universities, social media and financial literacy are not incorporated into regular curricula. Ensuring that youth are receiving necessary media and financial literacy education to navigate an increasingly digital world is vital to the health of all Latin American societies.
After participating in the Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar (Alumni TIES) Tech Camp Reconnect seminar on “Advancing Digital Citizenship through Media Literacy,” I received an Alumni TIES small grant. In collaboration with my fellow participant, Soledad Arreguez from Argentina, we created the Tomá Tu Parte project. Our overall goal was to provide a learning environment for university students to advance their knowledge and skills in social media and financial literacy and raise their awareness and their own sense of responsibility in these topics. We conducted six virtual weekly workshops for 77 participants across two months, and during the meetings, we shared tools and content with the participants, engaging them through various guided activities. The activities aimed to raise the awareness and the responsibility of each participant about how they would apply the topic presented. While our participants were shy initially, providing clear and engaging moderation encouraged them to express their thoughts and opinions more confidently. The group managed to build a strong, supportive community for media and financial literacy education. In addition to the weekly workshops, we developed an online platform (https://academia.crea-empresarial.gt/) to provide asynchronous financial literacy information in Central America. We shared numerous videos and literacy tools and intend to continue using the platform to post future financial literacy courses to increase accessibility to this pertinent knowledge.
It is important to note that without the support of the U.S. Department of State, World Learning, and immense external support from organizations across Guatemala (Crea Empresarial, Radio Sónica, Landivarianos, U.S. Embassy Guatemala City, San Carlos, Da Vinci, Mariano Galvez Universities), Argentina (El Faro Digital, U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires), and Peru (Superintendencia de Bancos), this work would not have had such a meaningful impact. As we move to expand the project and continue creating content and opportunities for citizens across all of Latin America, we hope to equip and empower all global citizens with the knowledge to effectively traverse our digital world.
Take Your Part is funded through an Alumni TIES small grant from the U.S. Department of State.