Welcome 2011

Welcome back to Entre Querés y Quisieras (Between Wishing and Needing) for 2011. Last year was a big year for the project, with lots of discoveries and developments. This year is looking to be even bigger and we look forward to sharing the ride with you.

Pilot projects
Probably the most important was the testing of the educational materials in two communities in Guatemala (Santa Rosa and Santiago Atitlán). One of the changes that came about since we were working with boys and young men as well as girls and young women was to make the questions all inclusive -- questions about the opposite sex or their behavior -- the questions had to be answered by everyone.

We also introduced the mailbox after each class – the kids were required to drop a question in the mailbox at the end of the class anonymously which were then answered by doctors and psychologists and discussed in the following classes.

Perhaps the biggest realization was that the people teaching the class were going to have to determine what services (health, legal, social) were available before the class started so as to be able to direct kids with problems or issues to them. This is because so many sensitive issues surfaced right from the very beginning.
We have also started working with 2 people (one who is 12 and the other who is 17) to see if the materials can be done independently or alone. So far the feedback from them has been great, we hope to post their thoughts from time to time on this blog.
In 2010, we continued talks with UNFPA on using the materials in Nicaragua. UNFPA/Nicaragua has some interesting projects for youth. They produced a bulletin that came out at the time of the book.
The show in November highlighting the book was a different way to make the material accessible, to engage a wider audience outside of the classes that we were teaching. A group of students from an ethics class did come to see the exhibit accompanied by their professor after she had seen the show. I would have liked to have heard the discussion afterwards.
The show produced the possibility of working with a community in the Ixcan.
In our field work we are using the materials in very diverse communities and with people from extremely different backgrounds and they are responding positively - they come to class and they are interested as evidenced by continuing to ask questions.
Like minded projects
This year we are looking to partner with like minded organizations that encourage young people to think more about what they do. As I have always said, this is a universal issue and is relevant all around the world. If you know of any organizations that would be interested in working together, please get in touch with us.
Stay tuned...
We’d like to continue sharing with you developments in the project, so please stay connected with us through the website, facebook and our blog. This year we are planning on posting articles and relevant sites and of course content from the project. Please let us know if there’s something you’d like to hear more about and please pass this on to your friends and contacts that may be interested.
Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2011,
Michaele Cozzi

The mailbox...

Here are some examples of the questions that the kids are leaving anonymously to be answered in the class:

How can you tell if a person is infertile?
How can you avoid HIV?
Why do some parents abuse their children?
How does an unwanted pregnancy affect the baby?
Why are some babies born prematurely?
Can masturbation cause physical and emotional problems?
If a child is born HIV positive, how will it affect them?
What age should a person get married?

So there are some interesting issues to be handled...

The whole package

As you may know Entre Querés y Quisieras (Between Wishing and Needing) is much more than just a book. An educational package has been created as an alternative, to use a different strategy, to have more positive results. It’s not about telling kids what they should and shouldn’t do, but getting them to think and talk about themselves, their lives and why they are doing what they are doing. This needs to be accompanied by accurate information on sexual reproduction, contraception and family planning. The package of educational materials includes discussion cards, a facilitator’s guide and a personal journal that can be used for educational groups, community groups, health centers or at home.

Follow this link for an overview of the educational package. It contains excerpts from the book, the cards, the guide and the journal -

If you would like more information regarding the package and its use, please contact us at info@womenincommon.net

What do you think?

It's been a while since we've posted a card up here, we've been busy with the student workshops. But we'd still love to hear your thoughts... Please add your comments and share your ideas...

thoughts from santa rosa....

We are currently working with a group of guys and girls from a secondary school in san Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
It has been an amazing experience to listen to the opinions of the group, share their comments and watch the exchange of ideas between them.
Its difficult with the girls sometimes to hear how they don’t value themselves as women. We’re trying to overcome this by sharing with them stories of other women, working on self esteem, goals and what they want for their own future.
Through working with this group, we have noticed an increase of trust within them. Now we can talk about certain themes with much more freedom, without fear of what they will say. In the start, talking about sexuality would always cause them to laugh and joke. Now it’s a really productive conversation, because as the groups are learning, more and more questions are coming up that help them to understand the topics and not take them so lightly.
One of the things that we have noticed in the group of boys is that there’s a lot of machoism, jokes and inappropriate comments. Maybe it’s a cultural thing with young people. It seems to happen more in rural areas, where these themes you don’t talk about with anyone, especially not when a woman is talking about it. We’re trying to get them to understand more about the topics, so they open their minds a little to want to ask more questions and take the issue a little more seriously -- so that they can learn and be responsible with their sexuality.
A lot of members of the group, comment on the topics in later workshops, which is great to know that they are interested in what they are learning.
They’re interested in learning more about their sexuality and we’re finding that every class more themes arise that help them understand their sexuality.
We think this course is so valuable for these guys and girls to become responsible about their sexuality, make them think about the consequences of irresponsible actions they may take. Using examples from the book really helps with this. Hearing real life stories and sharing stories from other young people in their community, about their way of life, after being irresponsible is like looking in a mirror...

Taller Entre Querés y Quisieras / Between Wishing and Needing Workshop, Santiago Atitlan Guatemala

Working with the girls in Santiago Atitlán was sad, happy, inspiring and depressing all at the same time… The first eye opener was the exercise where we wrote the word “woman” on the board and the girls had to shout out the first word that came to mind. “Hard working”, “affectionate”, “flowers” were all good starters. But when words like “lazy”, “ugly” and “stupid” started coming out, I knew we had a big task ahead of us. I then added words like “special”, important” and “family” and once we had all the words up, we very quickly deleted the words that we are NOT as women!

We used Entre Querés y Quisieras (Between Wishing and Needing) as a tool to get the conversation happening between the girls. We’d read a chapter each week, then use the cards or just have a general chat about some of the themes raised. It was really amazing how little they knew about some topics – like menstruation (what it does to you, what it feels like, do other people know, how do you know when its going to happen) what your options are if you don’t want to have relations with somebody and how much they knew about other topics – like the beatings you get for using bad words and what that does to a persons self esteem.


Trabajando con las niñas en Santiago Atilán era muy triste, feliz, inspiracional y deprimente a la misma vez… La primera cosa que me sorprendió fue la actividad donde escribimos la palabra “mujer” en el pizarrón y las niñas tuvieron que decir la primera palabra que viene a la mente. “Trabajadora”, “cariñosa”, “flores” fueron buenos inicios. Pero cuando dijeron palabras como “perezosa”, “fea” y “tonta”, me di cuenta que tuvimos un gran reto! Yo añadí palabras como “especial”, “importante” “familia” y cuando tuvimos todas las palabras, borramos muy pronto las palabras que NO somos como mujeres!

Usamos Entre Querés y Quisieras como una herramienta para empezar la conversación entre las niñas. Leímos un capitulo cada semana y luego usar las tarjetas o solo hablar de algunos de los temas. Fue increíble ver que poco sabían de algunos temas – como la menstruación (que te hace, que siente, si sabe otra gente, cuando sabe que va a pasar) y cuales son sus opciones si no quieren tener relaciones con alguien y cuanto sabían de otros temas – como los golpes que reciben por usar malas palabras y que hace eso a la autoestima de una persona.

Let’s talk about hitting a child...

Are there any reasons to hit a child?

If the answer is yes, what are the reasons and why?

How hard is justifiable or how much is too much? Leaving the person marked, with bruises? Explain why…

If the response is no, then why? Explain.


Do you fight with your brothers and sisters?

What happens?

What are the things you aren't supposed to do?

What happens when you do those things?

We want to hear your comments! Click on comentarios below......

what would you do?

Close your eyes and think of your mother....

What is the first thing that comes to your mind?
How do you see your mother?
As a mother?
As a person with needs too?
How do you think your children will or do see you?
How do you want your children to see you?

Click on "comentarios" below to join in the discussion....