WALC students take up composting

WALC participants from the fall of 2017 met Saturday to begin a composting project in their village. Last fall 15 young women from five villages in the Puruhla mountains of Baja Verapaz took part in CCFC’s WALC program. All fifteen are currently finishing their 2018 school year and most plan to participate in WALC again this fall. On September 22, seven of these young women began a composing project that they hope to spread to the villages in their region. “Why throw something away that is useful?” says Brenda Aracely of Panzal. Last fall was Brenda’s second year in WALC. Brenda plans on returning in October for her third year.

Thanks to the opportunities and leadership skills gained by these young women through the WALC program, composting and agro-forest gardening are catching on in their region.

Families receive two containers, one for inorganic trash (marked in red) and one for organic material for composting (marked in green).

WALC’s Researchers

CCFC’s relationship with Lilly Briggs goes back to 2011 when CCFC first began to use Cornell Lab’s BirdSleuth curriculum for it’s Kids & Birds Program. Later Lilly came to CCFC to do her field research for her Ph.D. at Cornell University. Lilly’s research focus was CCFC’s WALC program.

On a recent visit to CCFC, Lilly presented her finished version of her Ph.D. dissertation to the CCFC library along with the most recent version of the BirdSleuth curriculum.

Thanks Lilly! Your research provides important feedback and affirmation for the efforts of WALC.

Gearing up for WALC fall 2017

As CCFC gets ready to receive another group of enthusiastic leaders-in-formation, it is a great moment to look back and see how far we’ve come.

Here is a photo from WALC, fall 2014. Notice the building behind the students. The roof was not yet complete and the walls and windows were not yet finished.

Here is a photo from WALC, fall 2015.

Here is a photo from WALC, fall 2016. Building finished and in full use. We had nearly 100 students sleeping in the building that fall.

Every year WALC has grown and improved.

With two months to go, big push to get new building ready for fall WALC

In preparation for a major influx of new students, CCFC is moving full steam ahead to get the dining area, kitchen and parts of the dormitory ready. On November 6, we are expecting a campus population of 150, with WALC students, peer leaders, teachers and staff. Last fall (see post below) we were able to finish two dorm rooms in this new building just before the WALC session started. This year we plan to have the kitchen fully functional, more dorm rooms ready and the large dinning all in full operation.




WALC students receive academic scholarships for 2017 school year

Students who took part in WALC last fall (October and November 2016) received their academic scholarships at Las Victorias National Park, Cobán, Alta Verapaz. These students are beating all the odds, staying in school and following their dreams of higher education. All students receiving checks submitted documentation demonstrating their  passing grades and their continuing attendance in their schools.  Within the demographic of these young women, students have a 75% annual dropout rate after sixth grade. WALC students have a lower than 5% dropout rate. CCFC is proud of these of these young and their resolve to prepare themselves through education.

Many parents accompanied their daughters to this celebratory event.



WALC 2015 — 2016

WALC 2015 — 2016

As our WALC scholars continue their schooling through the 2016 school year, we watch in silent admiration. These 7th-12th grade students earned their tuition by participating in a 25-day leadership training workshop and service-learning workshop during their summer vacation (fall vacation in the Guatemalan school year). In the 2015 — 2016 WALC cycle CCFC is awarding 229 scholarships. In 2016 we have at least six WALC alumnae studying at university. These young women are really beating the odds.

The final scholarship distribution / WALC follow up visit took place in July of 2016. We were impressed by the number of WALC participants that took us to their gardens and fields to show us what they received and planted. Students have grown and multiplied the seeds, starts, plants and crops that they received through WALC. Truly gratifying.

Cecelia Humbler Teyul left her first 25 day WALC workshop with seeds, plant starts and a lot of inspiration. On the day that she received her final scholarship distribution, she gave CCFC a tour of her gardens. Here’s Cecelia proud of her Naranjilla bushes that she planted from the seeds she took home with her.

Cecelia shows off her kitchen garden with heirloom beans.

Cecelia — an abundant squash harvest coming on. Q’eqchi’ Maya heirloom squash is high in vitamin A and keeps well in storage for weeks. One nutritional deficiency of the Q’eqchi’ diet is a lack of of vitamin A. By promoting and propagating heirloom crops such as this squash, CCFC is addressing an nutrition problem and contributing to regional food security.

Maralena Ical Chub and her sister Ana Floridalma Ical Chub plant taro, naranjilla, aracach, onions and papaya together in her agro-forestry parcel. Maralena took home naranjilla seeds and taro and aracach starts. Visiting her parcel, Maralena was more than happy to show us the results of this investment.

Maria Azucena Rax Tupil
Maria Rax receives her scholarship. Maria went back to 7th grade after having sat out for two years. She is proud to be back in school and grateful for the opportunity to study. Maria earned her scholarship by participating in WALC’s 25 day workshop.

WALC students gather in regional groups for follow up and to receive their certificates of participation.



October 25, 2016 marks the first day of the 2016 — 2017 WALC cycle. We are currently finishing our follow up with our 2015-2016 scholarship recipients. Our current cycle is ending with 229 scholarships given. We are looking forward to another great year.

Our building is taking shape. Our hope is that by October 25, we will be able to use the 1,628 square feet of finished building (the tail of the new building) to house and serve meals to our new group of WALC participants.

Thanks to your support CCFC continues to offer life transforming educational opportunities to young women from villages along the edge of the cloud forests of Guatemala’s central highlands.

Below: getting it under roof for October 25.

new name for a great program

new name for a great program

CCFC’s leadership training program for young women is getting a new name and a new friend. In order to better reflect the nature of our program, what was known as CALT is now WALC. WALC (pronounced walk) stands for “Women in Agroecology Leadership for Conservation.” The content of this successful program remains the same but the name better communicates the focus of the program. We at CCFC have seen the difference a 25-day leadership workshop can make in the lives of young Q’eqchi’ Maya women and the difference a work study scholarship can make in helping these young women follow their dream of an education that for many is simply out of reach.

WALC en Rubel Chaim

WALC and Dining For Women

WALC and Dining For Women

August 2015 —
Good news WALC supporters. Standing right beside you as you support this work is WALC’s newest friend: Dining for Women. Dining For Women (also known as DFW) is a giving circle that funds grassroots programs that benefit women around the globe. DFW is a fantastic organization and we highly recommend that you find a local chapter and join. For years CCFC has had the dream of offering its 25-day leadership training workshop and subsequent scholarship to 153 young women annually. Thanks to each of you, in 2015 we were able to accept more students than ever before, with 100 actively enrolled in the program from 2014. Thanks to each of you for sponsoring a scholarship through your $150 contributions. Were it not for your support and contributions, we would never have reached 100! We still fell 53 young women short of our overall goal of 153 in 2014.

Enter: Dining For Women. For 2015 and 2016, CCFC’s WALC program will enjoy the financial support of Dining For Women which will be enable us to offer an additional 80 scholarships each year. As the dust settles from a busy fall and we tally up the names of those who have successfully finished the 25 day workshop and meet the qualifications, we are please to announce that our total for 2015 is 229 scholarships earmarked for distribution during the 2016 school year.

To celebrate CCFC’s new partnership with DFW, friends of CCFC produced this six minute video. Please take a look: CCFC / DFW video clip . Feel free to share this video link with others.)