Early May (7-10) key stakeholders from Guatemala came to the Netherlands to start taking concrete steps towards realizing critical systematic change in Education in the Guatemalan context. The four days were full of meetings and interaction between the Guatemalan and Dutch.

We learned about how various concepts, tools and resources of the stakeholders present could contribute in a practical way towards two specific themes the INCE Guatemala team will focus on initially: certification for school improvement processes (road towards accreditation) and teacher training. We looked at the best way to approach these ‘large elephants in the room’, and came to understand also the critical team balance which is needed between large macro vision and development and more detailed worked-out methodologies. Real systemic change takes place in the interaction between those two interconnected levels – so you need people in the team that function in these two realms.

Typical Dutch lunch walk

Meetings were held at the office of Woord en Daad, where participants also learned of the benefits of taking a ‘lunch walk’ for creating an open mindset and for reflection and of course to take a picture of true Dutch sights (the windmill). One day was spent visiting the Driestar offices to learn about key areas for collaboration with INCE Guatemala. The team is very thankful that Driestar chose Gouda as their home base since this meant we could taste and buy (a lot!!) of cheese at the traditional cheese market.

Finally an important part of consortium development is also getting to know your fellow stakeholders on and off the field. Playing a game of “farmers’ golf” in the local fields was a time of further bonding and understanding where key skills lie of each team member!

We look back at a very fruitful first engagement together and with more energy and concrete actions are moving ahead the coming weeks and months to ensure that 2019 will already see the first steps of change in the Guatemalan Education system.