In a time where collaboration has become a form of resistance, we thought it would be pertinent to share about a forum for collaboration here at Philanthropiece that has been instrumental in mobilizing, and how it is evolving in today’s new political climate.
We sparked the Guate Cafe in 2012 to bring together people and organizations based on the Front Range here in Colorado, who are engaged in conscious, sustainable development in Guatemala. We gather once a quarter over lunch with a loose agenda that includes check-ins, support needed, and discussion around a central theme.
We have had over 50 different people participate, representing 24 unique organizations including Global Education Fund, Friendship Bridge, Starfish, Women Work Together, Community Empowerment Solutions (SolCom), and Engineers Without Borders. Some of the themes that we have explored together include: empowerment, sustainability, collective impact, education, resource generation, leadership, monitoring and evaluation, emigration/immigration, and Guatemalan ACs (civil associations) and NGOs.
The overall goal of meeting periodically is to provide an open space to share our knowledge, build community, and grow our efforts. We also see it as a time to celebrate our successes, learn from our struggles, and to find avenues for collaboration between our organizations. I find that it often, as well, creates time for reflection and inspiration for our work and our collaboration with our Guatemalan colleagues.
The most recent Guate Cafe we held in November, shortly after the election, explored the theme of inclusion. We asked ourselves: what does inclusion look like in our programs? What does it mean to us? And, what is challenging about inclusion? A response that kept coming up was: inclusion in our programs should include serving the same marginalized communities here in Colorado that we serve in Guatemala. It was an emotional revelation that led to a stimulating discussion. Considering that several of the Guate Cafe participants have been working in Guatemala for decades, shifting our focus towards local issues will entail a fresh start for many, but we collectively believe it is a necessary challenge to take on. We are excited about this new chapter in the Guate Cafe and are incredibly grateful for this space to collaborate!
The next Guate Cafe is scheduled for Thursday, March 9th, 11:30AM-1:00PM and will take place in our office, the Philanthropiece Barn (north of Boulder). Please email our Program Intern, Gabi Murillo, if you would like more information ([email protected]).