Abriendo Oportunidades

  • P Project/Program

A Active

Key Information

To improve connections between the Abriendo Oportunidades (AO) program and schooling opportunities for adolescent girls, we started a relationship with the Ministry of Education (MOE) through its unit for alternative secondary education (Dirección General de Educación Extraescolar, DIGEEX). In 2011, the MOE launched the Modalidades Flexibles Program (MF) designed for adolescents 15 who dropped-out of school, who are considered over-age for their grade level by the MOE, and who wanted to continue their education. Due to the lack of investment in the MF program, DIGEEX has relied on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to expand the program. Without a sustainable source of funding, DIGEEX has failed to implement an intentional strategy to reach segments of the population most in need of alternative education opportunities and, as such, the expansion of the program has been driven solely by NGOs. In 2013, the Council designed a strategy that unites the Abriendo Oportunidades model and the Modalidades Flexibles program to provide girls with opportunities to continue in secondary education. Our initial assumption was that adding a schooling component to AO would translate to higher chances of middle school completion for participants. The combination of components for this intervention was launched as Abriendo Oportunidades a la escuela (AO to School), and was designed to increase opportunities for adolescent girls to exercise their citizenship by sustaining their participation in AO while expanding access to middle school for 200 girls ages 14 to 19 in 10 rural indigenous communities.

The program began in a handful of rural communities in Guatemala and has since expanded nationwide to over 10 departaments, as well as to Belize (where the program is called Toledo Adolescent Girls Program) and Mexico (where the program is called Abriendo Futuros). 

Lead Implementing Organization(s)


Latin America & Caribbean

Belize, Guatemala, Mexico

Government Affiliation

Government-affiliated program


2013 -


Department of Alternative Education at the Ministry of Education in Guatemala, Office for the Defense of Indigenous Women (Government Office in Guatemala)

Ministry Affiliation

Department of Alternative Education at the Ministry of Education in Guatemala, Office for the Defense of Indigenous Women (Government Office in Guatemala)

COVID-19 Response

Not changed

Geographic Scope

Global / regional

Areas of Work Back to Top

Education areas


  • Secondary completion

Other skills

  • Rights/empowerment education


  • Curricula/lesson plans
  • Teacher training


  • Civics education

Cross-cutting areas

  • Adolescent pregnancy/childbearing
  • Community sensitization
  • Early/child marriage
  • Food/water security
  • Gender equality
  • Mentorship
  • Social and gender norms and beliefs
  • Violence (at home, in relationships)

Program participants

Target Audience(s)

Girls (both in school and out of school), Teachers - female, Youth


14 - 19

School Enrolment Status

Some in school

School Level

  • Lower secondary

Other populations reached

  • Community leaders
  • Mothers
  • School administrators

Participants include

  • Indigenous

Program Approaches Back to Top

Access to school

  • Alternative learning centers/mobile schools/home schools

Community engagement/advocacy/sensitization

  • General awareness-raising/community engagement


  • Gender-sensitive curricula
  • Increased availability of learning materials

Increased availability of learning materials

  • Textbooks (unspecified)

Life skills education

  • Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE)
  • Gender, rights and power
  • Sexual and reproductive health (including puberty education)

Mentoring/psychosocial support

  • Teachers as mentors


  • Coordinated Action

Social/gender norms change

  • Engaging parents/caregivers of students or school-age children/adolescents
  • Group activities with students or school-age children/adolescents


  • Hiring more female teachers
  • Teaching materials (e.g. lesson plans, curricula)

Tutoring/strengthening academic skills

  • Tutoring - general

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Program Goals Back to Top

Education goals

  • Curricula, teaching and learning materials are free of gender-bias and stereotypes
  • Increased re-enrolment in school among out-of-school children
  • Increased secondary school completion
  • Increased years of schooling
  • Teachers and learners have the knowledge and skills to promote gender equality

Cross-cutting goals

  • Improved sexual and reproductive health
  • Increased advocacy/civic engagement
  • Increased agency and empowerment
  • Reduced adolescent pregnancy/childbearing
  • Reduced child marriage

Additional Information Back to Top

Primary Contact

Angel del Valle
Population Council
Acting Country Representative, Population Council Guatemala