We, Tatiana and Kyle, have started working together in La Guajira. This week, we are training a group of students from the University of La Guajira to be digital storytelling workshop leaders.

In partnership with Grupo Motivar at the University of La Guajira and the Fundación Cerrejón de Fortalecimiento Institucional, the group of students we train will lead digital storytelling workshops in small towns in La Guajira. From August-December of 2010, the Fundación Cerrejón de Fortalecimiento Institucional held an essay contest for students in La Guajira living in towns that receive royalties from Cerrejón.

Royalties are an additional tax payed by corporations that extract non-renewable resources. Natural gas, coal, and salt are all currently being extracted in La Guajira. The essay contest was designed to get young people thinking about the proper use of royalties in their towns in order to build a generation committed to development in La Guajira.

The students we train at the University of La Guajira will work with the five finalists from the essay contest to convert their essays into digital stories so that they can share their ideas more easily with their communities. The students will be working in pairs in schools in Barrancas, Albania and Hatonuevo once a week for 10 weeks.

We’re excited about this training as a way to make digital storytelling permanent in La Guajira. We have already worked with Cerrejón to apply for a grant to fund our students to do more digital storytelling work in August with this year’s essay contest. We have also investigated social programs in other towns in the area that are interested in digital storytelling that we will connect our students to. We’re hoping to make digital storytelling sustainable and let it take off on its own by teaching what we’ve learned about leading our workshops to local leaders.

Follow the capacitadores reflections on the training and, later, doing digital storytelling work in La Guajira on their blog