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Cultural Survival-ArtCorps Partnership

Partnership Objective

"Training the Next Generation of Human Rights Journalists"

Cultural Survival works worldwide to defend and preserve the rights, culture and languages of indigenous peoples. In Guatemala, Cultural Survival works with 175 independent, indigenous-run community radio stations that exist in a loose community radio network. In collaboration with Cultural Survival and the radio stations, ArtCorps will strengthen the capacity of indigenous communities in Guatemala to disseminate knowledge, communicate with one another and protect their human rights and cultural heritage.

This partnership will include working with local broadcasters to create educational broadcast training videos that will be disseminated throughout the 175 indigenous radio stations in thecommunity radio network; and training key indigenous constituencies in creative storytelling techniques to engage listenership and disseminate critical information to indigenous communities.

The Need

Stories about people like themselves are a powerful means to reach and give a voice to Guatemala’s rural population. Radio is a particularly effective means for providing information to Guatemala’s illiterate population as well as those who do not have access to other media sources. By partnering with ArtCorps, Cultural Survival and the community radio network are learning innovative ways to engage listeners and providing opportunities for young broadcasters.


2011- 2012: ArtCorps Artist Patricia Escalon is a Salvadoran-Australian artist with experience in film, theater and writing. Patricia is working with indigenous youth to train the next generation of broadcasters and journalists.

  • Video Production Workshops: Patricia is working with young radio broadcasters to put another powerful storytelling tool into their hands - video production. In weekly workshops, the youth are learning the ins and outs of storyboarding, camera use, lighting, color, sound, post-production and editing.
  • Human Rights Videos: The youth are practicing their new technical and storytelling skills as they produce engaging videos that share critical information about human rights. The following topics were selected by the youth for their video series: Mayan identity, HIV/AIDS, fair trade and the story of their peer Nelson and his remarkable leadership example.
  • Community Radio Training Video: They are also producing a training video on radio broadcasting that will be disseminated throughout the 175 indigenous radio stations in the community radio network.

2011: ArtCorps Artist Monika Navarro is a documentary film-maker from the US who worked with the community radio stations to amplify their voice, by developing advocacy spots and transferring storytelling skills to radio broadcasters.

  • Television for Radio: Monika collaborated with international and local film-makers to create two 30-second television spots on the importance of community radio as a vehicle for freedom of expression and human rights.
  • International Women’s Day: Monika trained women broadcasters in storytelling as a tactic for raising awareness about sensitive topics, such as gender roles and reproductive health. She worked alongside them to create special programming for International Women’s Day, marking the first day fully dedicated by the radio to women’s issues and voices. Read Monika's "Let's Talk about Sex" blog post.

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