Notes From the Field: Alesha Anderson, ProLiteracy’s Senior International Programs Officer  
Posted by Alesha Anderson on August 24, 2022 in categoryStories from the Field

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of representing ProLiteracy for the launch of a new women’s education program in Panama. ProLiteracy will be working with two local nonprofit organizations: Centro de Estudios y Acción Social Panameño (CEASPA) and Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas de Panamá (CONAMUIP). ProLiteracy will assist with administration, management, training, and material development. 

This exciting new project will focus on bringing literacy skills to Guna women, an indigenous group in Panama. Most of the Guna women have migrated from Guna Yala, a group of islands also known as known as San Blas. The region is off Panama’s eastern coast and contains more than 300 islands, 49 of which are inhabited by the Guna people. Both CONAMUIP and CEASPA work with Guna communities and focus on empowerment for indigenous groups in Panama, but this will be one of their first projects focusing on the education and the development of literacy skills.  

While there, ProLiteracy met with several of the programs’ tutors and learners. As part of the initiative, learners will improve their literacy skills using the digital program Leamos, which will help them improve reading and writing skills, but also teach digital literacy as the curriculum is delivered on tablets/computers.  

In addition to participating in the program launch with the community, I was able to conduct a Literacy for Social Change training with CONAMUIP members who will be tutors for the literacy program. ProLiteracy has an extensive history incorporating literacy instruction into community empowerment and this will be a key objective for this new project as well!  

Through decades of program implementation, ProLiteracy has developed a unique tool that enables leaders within community literacy programs to effectively combine literacy instruction with strategies for community development and problem solving.  Referred to as Literacy for Social Change, this training helps tutors/teachers to view literacy as a combination of fundamental skills, critical thinking, cultural expression, and learner-initiated action. Literacy for Social Change helps communities assess their material and social needs and implement learner-generated solutions to pressing local problems.  

As part of the Guna Women’s Literacy Program, the community of Abia Yala will work with ProLiteracy to create a manual that uses literacy as a strategy for social change and community development. The manual will be designed, illustrated, and implemented by the Guna women in the program.  

ProLiteracy is excited  to be partnering with two outstanding organizations in Panama to empower Guna women with literacy skills so that they can accomplish their goals and improve their lives! 

Learn more about ProLiteracy’s International Programs at  



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