Millions of voices have come together in recent years to amplify this simple fact: Girls’ education is the lifeline to global development. When you educate a girl, you don’t just educate an individual; you lift up her family, her community, and future generations. Yet an astounding 130 million girls worldwide remain out of school. Without intervention, they are on track to repeat the predictable cycles of intergenerational poverty and exclusion.
Making an impact can feel impossible, but we’re here to tell you it isn’t.
We call the girls in our program “Girl Pioneers” because they are blazing an unprecedented trajectory through and beyond secondary school towards a choice-filled life. Want to help make an impact? Become an Ally.
What is the Starfish Alianza Program?
The Alianza Program is an opportunity for you to invest in the future of Girl Pioneers (starting first with Starfish Impact School students) while also getting to know them through a variety of meaningful activities designed by mentors and the young women themselves.
How did you design the Alianza Program?
Over the last ten years, Starfish has always evolved through intentional, innovative, and inclusive iteration. The Alianza Program is designed with Girl Pioneers at the center. We held meetings and focus groups with Girl Pioneers, mentors, our local leadership team, and investors to construct an informed program that connects young women and Allies through meaningful activities that build on trademark core competencies like vocal empowerment, critical thinking, and intercultural communication. By participating, you join the network of support, deepening each Girl Pioneer’s holistic education and exploration—all while continuing to expand your own understanding of collective empowerment.
What makes Alianza meaningful?
The Alianza Program is designed to go beyond a traditional sponsorship program. Through Alianza, you invest in the education of a cohort of Girl Pioneers while also getting to know them through a variety of meaningful activities designed by mentors and students (listed below). Interactions are designed with Starfish’s six core competencies (academic excellence, critical thinking, growth mindset, intercultural network, resilience, and vocal empowerment) in mind, allowing Girl Pioneers and Allies to practice skills together.
Girl Pioneers will be organized into small groups of 10-15 and paired with a group of Allies. Over the course of a year, you will be able to foster deep mutual understanding with the members of your cohort (both Girl Pioneers and other Allies) through intentional touch-points, including:
General updates: Girl Pioneer accomplishments and organizational news, featuring recent activities and events
Group match: photos and bios of the Girl Pioneers you will be getting to know
Group updates: specific updates on the girls in your cohort, including news about what they are learning in mentorship sessions, community service work they are completing, and individual achievements
Girl Pioneer reflections: short reflections about how Girl Pioneers practice the Starfish competencies in daily life. The program curriculum will focus on all of the six competencies each year.
Ally reflections: a dialogue you engage in with your group by writing similar reflections about your practice of the Starfish competencies in daily life. Girl Pioneers have expressed that receiving these kinds of external updates from Starfish supporters can be very motivating for them and allow them to recognize that they are part of a larger network of individuals who are in a shared learning process.
Yearbook: a compilation of photos and reflections from ALL Girl Pioneers so you can have a more holistic view of their progress
Ally/Girl Pioneer video teleconference session: a live video session with Girl Pioneers
How does my participation contribute to girls’ education worldwide?
Nearly every measurement of human development demonstrates that Mayan girls in Guatemala are the Western Hemisphere’s most disadvantaged population. Only 14% of rural, Mayan girls in poverty complete primary school. Fewer than 1% go on to university. Guatemala consistently has the worst gender inequity gap in the hemisphere. Predictably, this group—and its human potential—are excluded from political and economic participation and also lack sustained access to health and educational opportunities.
Our organizational ambition is to create a generation of female outliers. As “early adopters” these Girl Pioneers and their families are tangible proof of the power of education, and they will inspire others to make a similar investment in girls’ education. Most of these Girl Pioneers were already the most educated members of their families when they completed primary school. As they complete high school and venture beyond, the stakes only get higher. Younger siblings, neighbors, community elders, employers and universities are just a few stakeholders whose opinions have been and will be swayed by the trajectory of Starfish’s Girl Pioneers.
At Starfish, success is determined by “how far?” rather than “how many?” Your participation as an Ally ensures that these girls can go far and create meaningful impact within their lives, their families, their communities, and our world.
How is this a meaningful way to contribute to the cause?
We have created a tiered system to ensure that you are able to contribute at a level that is meaningful to you. The annual cost of supporting one Girl Pioneer in Starfish’s programs can range from $2,500 to is $4,000. Your support enables Starfish to cover the cost of transportation, school tuition, and books and materials, etc. In addition, it covers the cost of her participation in the Starfish mentorship program for a full year, which includes a portion of her mentor’s salary and allows her family to receive a home visit from her mentor once per month.
How do I get involved?
Ready to sign up? Click here to become an Ally.