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...
Aug 3, 2015

Spreading Healthy Behaviors to Local Communities

In our last report, we told you how we’re engaging community stakeholders in our WASH projects through student cohorts composed of older primary school scholars called School WASH Ambassadors. Recently, our project technicians began training these WASH Ambassadors and their teachers in diverse themes centered on healthy living. Such topics include proper waste disposal and recycling, the spread of germs, and general hygiene habits, like washing hands and brushing teeth.

Another session focused on self-esteem and its relation to personal hygiene. Our technicians emphasized that by taking care of yourself – by regularly bathing, brushing your hair, or changing your clothes – students value themselves. In result, they are more likely to pay attention in class, develop personal goals and dreams, have fewer illnesses, and ultimately complete school.

These are important lessons to learn because common health and hygiene habits are not always practiced in the home. Health habits tend to be discussed in schools, and some teachers speak about the importance of hygiene in meetings with parents. However, when asked why hygiene isn’t discussed at a family level, Tomas Mendoza, our WASH Project Manager, responded that “hygiene isn’t as important as eating.”

This is why Pueblo a Pueblo provides the resources and training necessary to create behavioral change. Much of our work is focused on education, however it is just as critical that we are providing WASH infrastructure in the forms of hand-washing stations and bathrooms. We are currently working with the Nueva Vida Primary School to finish the construction on seven new bathrooms, three hand-washing stations, and one urinal.

As a result of the education and infrastructure available to these students, Tomas has noticed that they are more conscious of good health practices and understand how to take care of themselves better.  We’re happy to be part of this change and we hope that instilling hygiene habits in local students will lead them to healthy and successful lives.

Jul 31, 2015

Experiences of a Community Social Worker

Rebeka visiting mothers in the Chacaya community
Rebeka visiting mothers in the Chacaya community

For the past year, Rebeka, a young resident of Santiago Atitlan, has been volunteering for Pueblo a Pueblo. This past March she became a full-time employee with our Maternal Child Health program and in her new position as program assistant, she has been very busy. Each month, Rebeka prepares and leads eight different educational sessions for the women in our Family Planning Champions and Maternal Child Health projects.

She also conducts home visits in three rural communities to meet one-on-one with the women in our program. Through these home visits, which are done to gain information on the health of a mother or her child or to help a Champion feel prepared for her charla, Rebeka has gotten to know the women personally and over time has gained their trust. Now, many of the home visits function as “safe spaces,” where women feel they can ask and talk about other taboo topics, like alcoholism and domestic violence.

Although her work in community outreach can be controversial at times, Rebeka feels that it is important to educate women on the topics of reproductive health, responsibilities of child-raising, and the women’s sexual rights. In her view, Rebeka feels like she is educating women when she gives a charla, but more importantly the women become empowered when they begin discussing these topics with their friends or spouses, or when they decide to use a family planning method.

“I’m considered very educated for my community,” she told me, “I went to primary school, high school, and university and I never learned about these topics. So imagine what it’s like for someone without an education hearing these topics for the first time.” For this reason, Rebeka is moved to work on women’s health issues and we’re happy to have her as an employee at Pueblo a Pueblo. 

Jul 22, 2015

Changes Growing in our School Gardens and Nutrition Projects

A student working in the Tzanchaj Garden
A student working in the Tzanchaj Garden

As the rainy season begins in Guatemala’s Western Highlands, students and teachers are working hard to clean up their school gardens and get ready for the next harvest season. Our newest partner school, Nueva Vida, is aiming to finish constructing their new school garden before the rains come. They have already been able to start planting nutritious fruits and vegetables and are teaching students about organic composts and insecticides.  

Pueblo a Pueblo’s garden technicians are also busy turning the Panabaj organic garden into a demonstration garden used to educate new partners on the principles of organic gardening and a diverse and nutritious diet. Staff is weeding, planting new fruits and vegetables, and installing more compost areas. They will soon be helped by 14 teenagers from the Panabaj community, who in return, will be able to sell the produce from the garden in local markets to earn some additional income for their families.  

We are also beginning to phase out of two schools, Chacaya and La Cumbre, where we have collaborated on constructing and maintaining the garden project for the past four years. The schools have been extremely successful -with La Cumbre harvesting over 700 pounds of produce last year alone! We know that they will continue to care for their gardens and incorporate the harvested fruits and vegetables into nutritious and delicious school meals.

The rainy season always makes upkeep of the gardens more difficult due to flooding, an influx of harmful insects, and the re-growth of weeds. Nonetheless, the students in the Santiago Atitlan and San Lucas Toliman municipalities are as excited as ever about their school gardens and the produce that the rainy season will bring!

Beginning of construction in Nueva Vida in April
Beginning of construction in Nueva Vida in April
Working on the garden
Working on the garden
Working on the Nueva Vida garden
Working on the Nueva Vida garden
Nueva Vida garden in June
Nueva Vida garden in June
 
   

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