BTS Community Development Cooperant Program

2022 BTS Cooperant Program

The Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS) is recruiting cooperants to serve in Guatemala for 6-12 months to support the work of our Guatemalan partners. As a BTS Community Development Cooperant, you will support Guatemalan organizations engaged in the struggle for defense of territory, truth justice and impunity, and human security.

We are also seeking experienced human rights accompaniers with Spanish fluency to serve from three weeks to three months.

Applications to become a cooperant are open to anyone seeking to increase their knowledge, skills, and practice of solidarity and human rights by serving as a Cooperant in Guatemala. The experience of being a Cooperant will foster a critical understanding of the practice of solidarity in Guatemala and its relevance for community engagement and organizing in Canada. 

Program background information package

Important Dates
  • July 15th 2022 ~ Application due
  • Week of July 18 ~ Interviews
  • August 19-21, 2022 ~ Solidarity & Human Rights Training at Tatamagouche Center
  • Fall 2022 ~ First cohort of cooperant departures to Guatemala
  • January 2023 ~ Second cohort of cooperant departures to Guatemala

Students at the New Hope Foundation School participating in a traditional Maya Achi dance 

Breaking the Silence acknowledges that systemic barriers disproportionately target and affect marginalized communities. We are committed to challenging these systemic inequalities and encourage applications from individuals that represent the full diversity of communities in terms of ability, age, class, gender, race and sexual orientation. Furthermore, we recognize and value lived experience as a legitimate attestation of skills and abilities. 

How to apply:

  1. Review the following self-assessment checklist to review the qualifications required for the program:
    • Have a valid passport
    • Provincial health insurance
    • Must have intermediate Spanish speaking skills at the time of the placement (or be willing to learn ahead of time)
    • Must demonstrate solid cross-cultural competencies and awareness of anti-oppression (or be committed to actively learning about this ahead of the placement)
    • Must be available to attend the Cooperant Solidarity & Human Rights Training at Tatamagouche Center May 21 – May 29, 2022
    • Must be committed to undertaking a Cooperant placement in Guatemala 
    • Engage in a critical introspection about your desire and fitness for this program
  2. Review the full cooperant program information package
  3. Fill out the application on our website and submit by midnight on July 15th
  4. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview the week of July 18th

Selected candidates must be available for the Solidarity & Human Rights Training at Tatamagouche Center August 19 – August 21, 2022 

**The training will take place at Tatamagouche Center in Nova Scotia in accordance with all necessary COVID-19 health protocols. 

 Priority will be given to folks based in or with strong roots in Atlantic Canada in addition to Indigenous, Diasporic, and POC applicants.**

Breaking the Silence is a voluntary Maritimes-based network that supports advocacy, human rights, and community development groups in Guatemala working for social, economic, environmental, and cultural justice. Formed in 1988 in response to the genocide, human displacement and massive human rights violations that occurred in the region during the Internal Armed Conflict, and based at the Tatamagouche Centre in Tatamagouche in Nova Scotia, BTS has developed partnerships in Guatemala since the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. 

Members of the 2019 BTS delegation with the permanent peaceful encampment resisting the Escobal Mine in Xinka territory.

At the present time, BTS prioritizes supporting transitional justice –including genocide cases– and support for communities resisting Canadian companies imposing mining operations without their free, prior and informed consent – with a cross-cutting theme of gender justice. BTS’ work in Guatemala is supported by and closely connected to solidarity work in Canada to raise awareness about human rights violations in Guatemala and to address the root causes of social injustice in Guatemala and in Canada. For more information on BTS please consult the information available on our website. 

BTS Solidarity Philosophy

We recognize that injustice is connected to structural inequalities within and between countries, and as a network we are committed to supporting structural transformation both in Guatemala and Canada. Our work is guided by the understanding that we need to build long-term relationships based on solidarity and mutuality. We respond to the needs and issues defined by our partners and other Guatemalans with whom we work. Our relationships are built on friendship, sharing, and dialogue as we work, learn, and grow together.

Using an experiential, participatory learning approach, participants will:

  • Deepen their understanding of the history & philosophy of BTS
  • Deepen their understanding & practice of solidarity
  • Consider complexities & challenges inherent to solidarity work
  • Engage in personal & collective reflection on power, privilege and oppression
  • Be introduced to helpful approaches and tools for engaging in solidarity work
  • Clarify their understanding of the Cooperant Program, including roles of short and longer-term cooperants, BTS policies, and expectations of cooperants 
  • Consider possible dilemmas, challenges, difficulties that cooperants may face
  • Learn about possible responses to challenges faced in this line of work 
  • Receive training in security and preparedness when working overseas 
  • Share BTS financial support information and fundraising strategies to prepare for a possible Cooperant Placement in Guatemala
  • Discern their suitability to participate in the program at this time, with the final decision made by the Training Leadership Team

BTS partnerships reflect decades of relationship building and cooperation. The work of our partners is wide in scope and all placements require great flexibility and adaptability. We encourage you to read about their work with the understanding that partner needs for Cooperant placements may evolve and change.

(Click the photos below to view the caption)

Cooperant Program Application

*Please ensure you have read the entire program background information package before completing your application.*

SECTION A: General Information

Please check which of the following you are interested in:

Short-term Human Rights Cooperant:
Longer-term Community Development Cooperant
I am avaliable...

SECTION B: Health Information

To support the physical and mental wellness of cooperants in the program, we require relevant medical histories. The following information is kept confidential.

SECTION C: Getting to know you

Please make sure to answer each question to the best of your ability and respect the word limit.

SECTION D: References & Resume

Please provide us with the names, relationships to, phone numbers, and emails of three persons who are willing to act as references for you. They should include people who can comment on your personal qualities, your education or training, and your work experience. We do not accept written references.

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