The West Foundation’s Impact on Cooperative for Education

The West Foundation has been a longtime partner and friend to Cooperative for Education (CoEd) since 2006, empowering hundreds of thousands of youth in Guatemala to break the cycle of poverty through education.

(From contributing writer: Lisa Groh, Grant and Strategy Manager, Cooperative for Education)

The West Foundation support has enabled all four of CoEd’s programs to continue steady expansion, while allowing the flexibility to develop innovative adaptations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • At the primary school level, CoEd’s Spark Reading Program empowers teachers with children’s books and training in best practices for early literacy education. Spark has trained over 1,000 teachers, who are transforming more than 30,800 students into a new generation of readers and learners.
  • At the middle school level, Textbooks and Computer Centers provide youth with vital resources that are critical to building the skills to obtain professional jobs. More than 28,000 students at 220 schools are benefiting from these programs every day.
  • Finally, the Rise Youth Development Program provides scholarships plus comprehensive academic and social support for kids who would otherwise be forced to drop out of school, ensuring they can complete the 12 years of education that USAID reports is necessary for Guatemalan youth to break the cycle of poverty. A youth development curriculum empowers them with the skills to lead the way to a brighter future for all of Guatemala.

The pandemic called for the development of virtual training platforms for both teachers (in the Spark and Textbook Programs) and students (in Computers and Rise). These virtual platforms will enable the programs to serve even more schools that weren’t previously eligible for CoEd programs due to size or location. Spark is also distributing oversized reading cards that students can use to continue reading at home, filling homes throughout Guatemala with reading materials at 1/100th the cost of the program’s typical books.

The Rise Program also continues to grow like never before. COVID has doubled the number of families in need of scholarships, so CoEd aims to grow from 820 Rise students served in 2022 to 1,500 by 2029. However, individual sponsors are still needed for each student in the program to see them all the way to high school graduation—and a brighter future. To learn more about the Rise Program or to sponsor a student, please visit


A Spark student and his mother using the reading cards at home