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Dec 9, 2019

Your Donation Provides Relief to Guatemalan Moms

Sponsored mothers at the 2019 end-of-year party
Sponsored mothers at the 2019 end-of-year party

When a woman joins the Maternal Child Health project, we ensure that she receives three things: subsidized medical care for herself and her newborn; health education to help her care for herself and her child; and a supportive cohort of other sponsored women.

Participating mothers have a lot on their plates. Most of their families depend on income from irregular agricultural labor, leaving the women responsible for bringing in extra earnings, caring for children, and completing household chores.

For example, sponsored mother Concepción has six children. She washes her family’s laundry in the lake, by hand, every day. In addition to her chores at home, she sells a natural fire-starter called ocote and makes intricately beaded embroidery to supplement her family’s income.

The Maternal Child Health project has relieved some of the stressors in Concepción’s life. With Pueblo a Pueblo’s support, she can take her son Juan to the partner clinic when he gets sick. She also began using a contraceptive method earlier this year after being introduced to the topic of family planning during a project workshop.

This project has brought Concepción new resources and knowledge that she can use to keep herself and her family healthy. With a supportive social work team on her side and a friendly cohort of other sponsored women around her, she doesn’t have to face things alone.

On December 4, Concepción and the other sponsored mothers gathered to celebrate another year together. Maternal Child Health team members Rebeca and Vilma led games and distributed Christmas gifts to the women and their children. The whole group shared a picnic meal together, and each mother-child pair posed for a portrait.

Your donations provide relief from the pressures of poverty. The Maternal Child Health project exists to provide women like Concepción the dignity of health care, education, and community. On behalf of our beneficiaries, we wish you the happiest of holidays and thank you deeply for your support!

Concepcion and her son Juan at this year
Concepcion and her son Juan at this year's party
Vilma leads an activity at the event
Vilma leads an activity at the event
A sponsored mother enjoys the festivities
A sponsored mother enjoys the festivities
The women participate in a game
The women participate in a game
Concepcion (second from right) during an activity
Concepcion (second from right) during an activity

Links:

Nov 22, 2019

Stories Build Stronger Readers

Ms. Clara reads aloud to students
Ms. Clara reads aloud to students

School has been out for almost three weeks here in Guatemala, where students attend class from January through late October. However, the library at Patzilin Abaj Primary School is full of young learners spending part of their winter vacation reinforcing their literacy gains.

Beginning readers need constant engagement with reading, writing, and storytelling activities in order to maintain their literacy levels over time. That’s why our Pathways to Literacy team leads two weeks of reading camp at each of our partner schools each winter: to give kids a chance to start the new school year stronger.

On Tuesday morning, Pathways to Literacy Project Coordinator Lidia Quiejú started off her day by reading a children’s book to fifteen wiggly students. The story was called Los cincuenta pasteles (“The Fifty Cakes”) and centered on a would-be entrepreneur named Enrique who foolishly agrees to bake fifty cakes for a very picky king—without any previous baking experience!

When she had finished her read-aloud, Lidia introduced the first group’s main activity: cake collages. “It’s important to give students an opportunity to be creative so that they can engage with the story in a variety of different ways,” Lidia explains. The students gathered leaves, seeds, and flower petals from the schoolyard and used them to decorate their “cakes”. The room quickly filled with the sound of hushed giggles as the students got right to work.

The second session of the day was led by Patzilin Abaj librarian Ms. Clara. “One of the goals of this project is professional development for school faculty—including its brand-new librarian,” explains Lidia. “So I lead the first session as a model, and then Clara leads the second to get comfortable with those same teaching techniques herself.”

Ms. Clara read the same book to the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders gathered for session two, but she used a more rigorous question-and-answer pattern to test the students’ comprehension. “What did Enrique want at the beginning of the story?” she asked. “What did you think would happen? Did the ending surprise you?”

Both groups of students will return for another week of reading camp, and they'll be back again in January for more learning. This program helps us fulfill our goal of building confidence in young readers and new educators—even while school is not in session!

Thank you for believing in the power of reading, writing, and storytelling to change lives. Your support fuels students' success.

Group 1 students gather collage materials
Group 1 students gather collage materials
A student shows off her collage
A student shows off her collage
Students participate in a "treasure hunt" activity
Students participate in a "treasure hunt" activity
Playing a "hot potato" reading comprehension game
Playing a "hot potato" reading comprehension game

Links:

Nov 13, 2019

Data-Driven Success

Tomas presents WASH results at an staff meeting
Tomas presents WASH results at an staff meeting

Observing Our Impact

Throughout Pueblo a Pueblo's partnership with Agua Escondida Primary School, we have been measuring our impact on the school by making observations both before and after we implemented critical interventions related to student health.

Tomás Mendoza is our Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator. He and his team use data collected in real time to make our projects more effective and more efficient each year. When Pueblo a Pueblo intervenes on behalf of rural Guatemalan families, we want to know that we are delivering positive results.

 

Reflecting on Our Results

Before our interventions, our team observed that only 55% of upper-school students washed their hands after using the restroom, and no students used hand soap. After Pueblo a Pueblo staff implemented sanitation improvements and hygiene education, those numbers rose dramatically: 99% of students washed their hands, and 94% used antibacterial hand soap.

 

A Real Win for Students

These results are helping improve students' health, happiness, and education. Diarrheal disease is considered a “major infectious disease” and significant public health risk in Guatemala and puts infected children at risk of long-term malnutrition and death. Furthermore, education is a precious resource here in Sololá, where more than one in three adults cannot read or write, and poor sanitation infrastructure at home and at school counts among the top reasons young Guatemalans perform poorly or drop out.

Proper handwashing hygiene has been found to reduce the incidence of diarrheal disease by 31%, and Pueblo a Pueblo’s recent efforts have given students at Agua Escondida both the education and the infrastructure they need to protect themselves. Our post-intervention evaluation confirms a happier, healthier school, where students experience fewer interruptions to their education.

 

How YOU Can Help

We have completed Phase I of our collaboration with Agua Escondida Primary School—now our team is gearing up to double our impact with Phase II! Read more about what we've done and what we have planned here.

Can you help us make these plans a reality? Join us in making 2020 our most successful year yet! Click the button below to support our data-driven programming today.

Tomas observes students
Tomas observes students' behavior at the school
A WASH team member conducts monitoring exercises
A WASH team member conducts monitoring exercises
Agua Escondida Primary School students
Agua Escondida Primary School students
Agua Escondida faculty attend a hygiene workshop
Agua Escondida faculty attend a hygiene workshop
New handwashing station at the upper school
New handwashing station at the upper school

Links:

 
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