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Oct 15, 2020

Forging Ahead, Prioritizing Literacy!

Patzilin Abaj Library (February 2019)
Patzilin Abaj Library (February 2019)

Over the past few months, our community here in Santiago Atitlán has experienced a number of big changes as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on. In accordance with government restrictions, all of our typical in-person programming has been suspended. In addition, schools have been closed since March, and students have been working remotely to finish their studies for the year. 

Throughout these difficult times, Pueblo a Pueblo has been working to find innovative strategies to continue making reading a priority in our community! One way has been through online workshops. 

On July 29th, Rebeca and Johanny teamed up to lead a workshop entitled “Animación a la lectura en casa” or Encouraging Reading at Home. 17 participants, made up primarily of local teachers and parents, tuned in for this one hour workshop. 

In it, they learned a variety of techniques about how to keep children engaged and excited throughout the entire reading process and beyond. Rebeca and Johanny shared that pre-reading and post-reading activities are especially important for enhanced comprehension and continued interest in reading!

Although we definitely miss our in-person interactions with students, Pueblo a Pueblo is proud to still be engaging with our community from a distance!

Currently, classes are winding down for the school year, and Pueblo a Pueblo is working with teachers and administration at Patzilin Abaj Primary School, the site of our active School Library project, to develop strategies for the coming school year! Our team is reviewing the content for upcoming “teacher-training” workshops so that when schools open again, we will be ready to equip Patzilin Abaj teachers with the knowledge they need to continue building a culture of enthusiasm and curiosity around reading!

Learning how to use library tablets (2019)
Learning how to use library tablets (2019)
Aug 13, 2020

Adapting to Changing Times

As the world responds to the many changes that COVID-19 has brought, each community is adapting to its own new realities. In Guatemala, the first cases appeared in mid-March; the national government quickly established measures like closing schools, prohibiting public bus transportation, shutting the borders, limiting businesses and shops, and establishing a curfew. To ensure the safety and well-being of Pueblo a Pueblo staff and the people we serve, we postponed all face-to-face meetings and trainings and started working remotely. 

All of these measures have helped reduce the spread of cases, but have also significantly impacted the   daily life and economic stability of many Guatemalans. In the communities we serve, many individuals are part of the informal economy, and rely directly and indirectly on tourism to support their families. The restrictions in place to help combat COVID-19 have also led to widespread food insecurity among our community members. 

Although schools have shifted to remote classes and school buildings remain closed, we continue to support the students that are receiving sponsorships. We have also been in touch with school principals and teachers to remain aware of the current challenges as well as the upcoming needs of students and their families. Our School Nutrition project has been greatly impacted by these school closures, as families traditionally participate in onsite nutrition trainings. However, we have conducted some online trainings as well as created some short videos to raise awareness on topics that are important in the communities we work in.

Pueblo a Pueblo analyzed both the short and long term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the communities we serve, and identified the most immediate problems to be heightened food insecurity and loss of family income. These challenges will, in the long run, impact the quality of education, health and nutrition amongst our community members. To reduce immediate food insecurity we set up donation drives, with help of some matching grants, to collect funds and distribute food baskets to prioritized families. Many of our sponsored students, youth leaders, and local project support workers have benefitted from these food baskets!

Amidst these challenging times, Pueblo a Pueblo is committed to adapting our plans to meet the changing needs of our communities. As always, our priority is working with communities to ensure positive, lasting impact, and as we continue to adapt, we will provide food baskets to families in the communities we serve. 

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Aug 7, 2020

The bees keep going

As the world adjusts to the changes the COVID 19 pandemic has brought, each place adapts according to its own realities. The first cases in Guatemala appeared in mid March, the national government quickly established measures like closing schools, prohibiting public bus transportation, shutting the borders, limiting businesses and shops, establishing a curfew. To ensure the safety and well being of Pueblo a Pueblo staff and the people we serve, we postponed all face-to-face meetings and trainings and started working remotely. 

All these measures have helped reduce the spread of cases, but have had great impact in daily life and economy. This has had a dramatic impact on the communities we serve,  leading to  widespread food insecurity as most people live day-to-day, are in the informal economy, and rely directly and indirectly on tourism.

The bees, of course, continue to pollinate flowers and crops, produce honey, and continue protecting their hive. The beekeepers still have their regular tasks to keep up with to ensure healthy and productive hives. Since there is a ban on travelling between municipalities, the technical support has been done remotely, which has been a challenge at sometimes. However, the challenges have increased the independence of the beekeepers.

Pueblo a Pueblo analyzed what the short and long term impacts to the communities we work with and we determined the most immediate are increased food insecurity, and loss of family incomes. These will cause even more impact long term on education, health and malnutrition. To reduce immediate food insecurity we set up donation drives, with help of some matching grants, to collect funds to distribute food baskets to prioritized families we serve. 

 

In the medium and long term we've started adapting our projects to the changing needs of the communities we work with so that our actions lead to more positive impact. As we continue to adapt, we will provide food baskets to people in the communities we serve. 

Links:

 
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