Asociación Muj’bab'l yol (MBYL)

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Public Statement 2012

Programa de Capacitación K’at b’e (Tejiendo el Camino)
Type of organization Association
Country Guatemala 
Duration  3 years 
IAF funding   $179,475
Counterpart committed $185,715  
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries
Direct: 65
Indirect: 66,000 radio listeners
Primary program area Indigenous populations, local alliances, and cultural preservation

Organizational background:
Asociación No Lucrativa Muj’bab’l yol (MBYL), which became legally constituted in August 2000, consists of 22 community radio stations located in the departments of Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, Sololá, Totonicapán, Huehuetenango, Sacatepéquez, and Chimaltenango. MBYL works to develop the administration and technical skills of its members in order to improve their programming and reach. To this end, MBYL offers training in leadership, locution, verbal communication, and the operation of equipment. MBYL also coordinates regional events highlighting the role that community radio plays in the geographic areas served and informing the public of the need for a context conducive to effective operations.

Project objective:
To advance community radio stations as a medium for increasing public awareness and understanding of indigenous Guatemalans and for encouraging the participation of indigenous Guatemalans in civic life, as well as to inform the public of the need for a regulatory framework conducive to the effective operation of the stations. 

MBYL will work to enable 22 community radio stations to develop better programming, to educate the public on legislation proposed to regulate the operation of community radio stations; and to inform listeners of their rights as citizens. The work will benefit 60 Guatemalans directly and another 66,000 indirectly.

Rationale for funding:
Community radio stations serve the most marginalized sectors of Guatemala, including young people, indigenous groups and women, who would not otherwise have a forum through which to express their ideas. For seven decades, their broadcasts have furthered democratic practices in Guatemala, by encouraging listeners to take part in civic life and by providing a forum for expression, debate and the exchange of ideas, all key requirements for a democratic society. They are also crucial to the development of cultural identity.

Learning opportunity:
This project will provide insight into whether better programming and a legal framework conducive to the effective operation will further the role of community radio stations in supporting democratic practices in Guatemala. If MBYL is successful in its efforts to secure the position of community radio stations so that they operate freely, the experience could be instructive for other civil society organizations also interested in legislation enforcing components of the Peace Accords.