Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Our mission is to improving the health, education and food security of families in Indigenous and rural communities in Latin America. We seek to strengthen vulnerable families by serving women and children, with an emphasis on Indigenous peoples in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala and other rural, coffee-growing communities in Latin America through integrated, school-based health & education programs. Pueblo a Pueblo was founded on the belief that meaningful and sustainable change requires the commitment and active involvement of the individual, community or organization that will benefit from that change. Pueblo a Pueblo strives to deepen values such as personal responsibility, se...
May 19, 2014

Clean Water in Two New Elementary Schools

An engineer plays with students at La Cumbre
An engineer plays with students at La Cumbre

This past month, Washington and Lee University physics professor Jon Erickson led 17 engineering students on a joint project with Pueblo a Pueblo to install biosand water filters in two of our partner schools as part of our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene project.

Panabaj and La Cumbre Elementary Schools were selected due to unusually high levels of E. coli and low levels of chlorine in their water supplies, as well as high rates of water-borne diseases within the student population.

If this is your first time hearing about biosand filters, here’s some quick background:

They came about in the early 1990s as a way to bring cheap, effective, and easy to use water purification systems to the developing world. Rather than going directly from water source to distribution tank, water is diverted into a plastic or cement mold, where it then passes through a number of biological and physical stages, each one intended to either trap or consume potentially harmful material. After it passes through the filter, water is rerouted back into the distribution tank and then out to the community. Since biosand filters have become a common part of international WASH practice, a number of studies have shown correlation between their use and decrease in diarrheal diseases in recipient communities. 

According to Professor Erickson, biosand filters are particularly well suited to communities around Santiago because the filters require minimal initial investment and are capable of removing pathogens and solids quickly enough to meet the daily needs of an entire school. 

Better still, upkeep is minimal. Once flow from the filter begins to slow down, teachers only have to open the plastic top, pour in a gallon of unpurified water, and swirl the filter’s top layer in a circular motion. It takes a maximum of five minutes. 

From our end, it was a pleasure to work with such a competent and well-intentioned group of people. Because of them, students in Panabaj and La Cumbre won’t have to struggle nearly as much with the waterborne illnesses that afflict so many other students around Santiago. 

Now it’s time to think about potential projects for next year. As always, we'll be sure to keep you in the loop!

May 14, 2014

Three Recent Accomplishments

In just the past three months, our Maternal Child Health (MCH) Project has graduated 3 women; 35 women have received brand new sets of pots and pans; and one woman, Isabela, has decided, despite her pregnancy, to continue her education and commit to completing high-school!

Needless to say, it’s been an exciting month.

Those who recently graduated the MCH project meet the future with increased knowledge about information and reproductive services that are available to young women and mothers in their communities.  Although we’re sad to see them go, we’re eager to see how they spread messages about family planning and reproductive health to their friends and family members.

We’d like to highlight our partnership with CEMACO, a large supermarket chain in Guatemala, which provided a generous donation of key supplies for our beneficiaries’ homes. It’s easy to take kitchen resources for granted, but many of these women cook every day for up to 10 family members with cracked pots and pans over broken stoves. Just this small contribution will make their lives much easier.

Finally, we’ve been inspired in particular by Isabela, the most recent addition to our Maternal Child Health Project. Despite her family’s traditional expectation that she would leave school when she became pregnant, she has made it clear that motherhood won’t supplant her education.  Now she’s dually enrolled in our MCH and Education Scholarships Projects and looks forward to walking the stage for her high school diploma in November.

Work doesn’t stop here, though. Over the summer we’ll be enrolling three new mothers for the MCH Project as well as providing three trainings this month for our current group. As always, we’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Apr 10, 2014

Promoting Literacy in More Communities!

As we begin replication of our Pathways to Literacy Project into the community of San Antonio de Chacayá, our local staff is working hard to ensure a smooth period of phasing this project out of the Chukumuk Elementary School, where over the past three years we have built a fully functional, sustainable school library.

In addition to building literacy skills and training, the focus of our efforts has been to empower teachers and administrators to take complete ownership of library and its resources, thus embedding literacy activities in the fabric of the school and its classrooms.

Our project goals goes hand-in-hand with a government-led initiative in Guatemala called Leamos Juntos (Let’s Read Together), which requires every teacher at public primary schools to design a year-long literacy plan for their students.

Whereas teachers in urban communities often receive more government attention, teachers in vulnerable schools such as Chukmuk have received little training on how to develop a plan for literacy activities. To fill this gap, Pueblo a Pueblo recently led a workshop for ChukMuk teachers on how to develop an effective, age appropriate literacy plan. Our project not only provides critical training and skills for rural school communities, where the government efforts often don’t reach, but establishes a great example for other schools in the area.

“It was inspiring,” said Montse, our Project Manager. “Every teacher in the school was inside the library searching for appropriate books for their students, using the school library database, and comparing ideas for activities.”

The next step is to schedule a second training later in the year, after which, according to the school principal, the teachers will travel to the town of Santiago to present their literacy plans with other schools.

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