SIET- System for Information and Evlauation with Tseltal community in Chiapas, Mexico

This is an applied research project in collaboration with One Equal Heart Foundation among Tseltal Maya indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico. We develop and test an integrated information system in support of community development. We bring together three different information resources and their respective practices (existing community radio, nascent community library, and new monitoring & evaluation program) into a single integrated system that respects, promotes, preserves and strengthens indigenous identity and culture and "Lekil Cuxlejalil", a Tseltal concept of the Good Life.  Research underlies implementation as we draw from theory and practice in indigenous knowledge, community radio, archives, and monitoring & evaluation, in order to create a robust and easy to use framework and tools for training and implementation in the field, to produce the following:

1. Research tools that can be adapted in different contexts

  1. Communit Library: Training Materials (worksheets, slides)
    • Inventory state of the collection – what do they have, where, in what condition
    • Criteria for retention and digitization – how to decide what to keep, what to digitize, what to discard
    • Process for records management – how to do proper storage, digitization, disposition, and what database to use. Metadata for collection
  2. Community Evaluation using Participatory Photography:  Fotohistorias (worksheets)
    • Fotohistorias: participatory photography to document contributions of the development programs to the Good Life. 
  3. Community Radio: with Mauricio Beltran, SIPAZ Colombia
    • Strategic vision of radio in communication ecosystem
    • Strengtehning radio programming in support of the Good Life

2. Methodological and theoretical insights that contribute to deeper understanding of indigenous knowledge, community archiving, and monitoring & evaluation of development activities among indigenous communities.


Research Team:

  • UW Faculty:  Ricardo Gomez
  • UW Students: Yvette Iribe
  • One Equal Heart, Seattle: Jeannie Berwick
  • Jesuit Mission of Bachajon: Arturo Estrada SJ, Director
  • CEDIAC, Chiapas: Mariano Morales, Francisco Guzman, David Perez
  • SIPAZ, Colombia: Mauricio Beltrán
  • ICESI University, Colombia: Luis Fernando Barón, María del Mar Moreno
  • Past UW collaborators include Freddy Mora, Kelle Rose, Leslie Granillo, Jessica Humphreys



Tri-lingual, full color books:  

1.  Living Fully - Vivir Plenamente - Lekil Cuxlejalil: Lekil Cuxlejalil among Tseltal Mayan Communities in Chiapas. Seattle, WA: One Equal Heart Foundation. All proceeds go to One Equal Heart Foundation to support community development work in Chiapas. (PDF)

2. Coming soon: Voz de Mujer - Women's Words -   Women's contribution to living fully among Tseltal Mayan Communities in Chiapas

3. Coming soon: Radio Voices - community radio and good life among Tseltal Mayan Communities in Chiapas. 

cover page of book with photo of young indigenous girl

Other planned publications include: 

  • LIS training and indigenous knowledge:  adapting MLIS theory and practice to Tseltal indigenous library. Simplification of key concepts and processes, preparation of training materials, action-based training and refinement of instruments, deployment in Chiapas.
  • Integrated approach to community information system, the case of SIET: a practititioner-oriented paper that discusses the merits (and challenges) of integrating radio, library and evaluation as part of endogenous development initiatives, with field examples from Chiapas.



    Research Results:

    Gomez, R., Zubair, C., Berwick, J., & Morales, M. (2017). Living Fully - Vivir Plenamente - Lekil Cuxlejalil: Lekil Cuxlejalil among Tseltal Mayan Communities in Chiapas - Lekil Cuxlejalil en las comunidades Tseltal Maya en Chiapas. Seattle, WA: One Equal Heart Foundation. (PDF)

    Humphries, J. & Rose, K. (2017). SIET Year 1 Capstone Report: Research and Recommendations for Snahul stsobojib sp’ijilal sjol yo’tan jlumaltic (Tseltal House of Wisdom). Capstone Report, University of Washington Information School, May 2017. 

    Gomez, R., Lefthand-Begay, C., Berwick, J., Zubair, C., Iribe, Y. & Mora, S. (2017). Indigenous Information System in Chiapas, Mexico: integrating community radio, library and impact assessment for community development. Poster presented at iConference 2017.

    Granillo, L., Helmer, J., Sobczak; J. & Nobs, J. (2016) Exercising Agency within Library Collections: A study in pairing library management systems and indigenous community libraries. Final project for Research Methods class LIS570, Fall 2016, University of Washington.

    Iribe Ramirez, Y. & St Louis, P. (2016). Best Practices Handbook: Collection Management & Staff Training. UW Capstone, University of Washington.

    Lopez, A., Guerrero, D., Cooper, C., Torres, S. (2016) Community Engagement Recommendations. UW Capstone. University of Washington.


    Otros Resultados:

    1. Bibliotecología y formación desde conocimiento indígena, en proceso. Kelle, Jessica (como parte de su Proyecto de grado)
    2. Sistema integrado de comunicacion: radio, biblioteca y evaluación, en proceso. Yvette, Freddy, Ricardo.  Resumen enviado a conferencia CIRN en Prato.


     Gomez, R., Zubair, C., Berwick, J., & Morales, M. (2017) Living Fully - Vivir Plenamente - Lekil Cuxlejalil: Lekil Cuxlejalil en las comunidades Tseltal Maya de Chiapas, Mexico. Español, Inglés, Tseltal. Color. Seattle, WA: One Equal Heart Foundation. Descargue aquí.


    1. Presentado en iConference, Conferencia de Facultades de Información en China (Freddy & Yvette)
    2. Presentado en Feria de Investigación de Universidad de Washington (Freddy & Vero)
    3. Poster trilingüe, Español, Tseltal, Inglés para comunidad Pinabetal y otros eventos en Seattle

    Otros materiales de diseminación:

    1. Crónica de viaje de Ricardo (editada) en  Español  y en  English  
    2. Carta a Tatic, de Mauricio, en Español
    3. Presentacion SIET PPT para diferentes charlas en UW y OEH
    4. Comentarios en Blog
      1. OEH
        Mauricio, on Radio:
        Ricardo, on SIET, English:
        Cala, on travel experience, English:
        Jeannie: team at OEH Fiesta:
      2. UW iSchool