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...
Feb 2, 2015

Partnership Brings Many Benefits

Pap and Baobab in Tzanchaj for Day of Handwashing
Pap and Baobab in Tzanchaj for Day of Handwashing

In previous reports, we told you about the progress our School Health and Hygiene program has made throughout rural communities in Guatemala. Today we wanted to share a bit more information about one of our collaborators and how we have joined efforts to have a greater impact.

In June 2014, Pueblo a Pueblo began collaborating with Baobab products. Baobab is a social enterprise based in Guatemala City that makes a line of organic soaps and lip balms that are all natural, biodegradable, and free from artificial ingredients. Baobab prides themselves on being environmentally-friendly and demonstrates a strong commitment to social responsibility through their Manos Felices, or Happy Hands, program.

By providing soap and promoting hygiene awareness to Guatemalan students, Baobab’s goal with their Manos Felices program is to decrease the rate of childhood disease, increase school attendance, and enhance the lives of children, their families and communities. Reaching this goal is made possible by combining resources with Pueblo a Pueblo. Alejandro Torun, founder of Baobab, states “our Manos Felices program is focused mainly on supplying soap to participating schools in Guatemala, but by working together with Pueblo a Pueblo we found a perfect match, since they not only have a WASH [Water, Sanitation and Hygiene] education and evaluation program, but also build sanitation and handwashing infrastructure at the schools.”  

Bounded by the same goal, Pueblo a Pueblo and Baobab started collaborating in Tzanchaj and Nueva Providencia. Like many rural, indigenous communities, Tzanchaj and Nueva Providencia face obstacles to good health. Sanitation facilities are limited and soap is expensive. However, by working together, our WASH project and Baobab have closed both gaps. Pueblo a Pueblo remodeled nine bathrooms and built five more, along with six new hand-washing stations, while Baobab contributed hand soap supplies.   

At the end of the year we were astounded to find out that the amount of students using soap when washing their hands in Tzanchaj and Nueva Providencia went from 0% to 100%, in the months after Pueblo a Pueblo and Baobab provided their support! 

Thanks to your contributions and our collaborations with companies like Baobab, we are proud to bring the health and sanitation resources needed ensure good health to rural communities.   

Children with new Baobab soap in Tzanchaj
Children with new Baobab soap in Tzanchaj
Taken on Int
Taken on Int'l Handwashing Day with PaP and Baobab

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Jan 27, 2015

Starting the New Year with New School Materials

The start of a school year can be particularly stressful and expensive for many families. In Guatemala, where nearly 70% of the population lives in poverty, having pencils and scribblers for the New Year presents a common challenge. Pueblo a Pueblo aims to mitigate this problem for the neediest families by providing Primary Education Scholarships to young students. At the start of this school year, we delivered 146 backpacks full of school supplies to local children who would otherwise be unable to afford what they need to attend school.

Being a new intern for Pueblo a Pueblo, I assisted in the organization, coordination, and hard work needed to get these backpacks ready for our event. When distribution day came, excitement was high as all the students impatiently waited in line to receive materials for the new school year. However, the highlight for me was seeing the huge smiles on the students’ faces as they enthusiastically tore open their backpacks and examined their new supplies.

Not only do these backpacks get children more excited for school, but the students know that being a scholarship recipient requires their commitment to attend school regularly. In a place where only 60% of students complete the sixth grade, attendance in schools is crucial to escape the cycle of poverty that plagues most indigenous, coffee-farming communities. Through scholarship awards, families agree to prioritize education for their children. In return, Pueblo a Pueblo eliminates additional obstacles to accessing education by providing basic supplies, medical check-ups, and targeted academic support from kindergarten through sixth grade.  

Seeing the students receive their backpacks made me realize the positive impact that this project has on families in Santiago and the surrounding communities. Not only were the students full of excitement and eager to continue their schooling, but many of their mothers looked on with pride, thankful for the opportunity to see their children succeed where many don’t. I’m glad I was able to help with this event and look forward to the beginning of new school year here in Guatemala.

Jan 24, 2015

The Honey Harvest Has Begun!

Beekeepers meeting for end-of-the-year celebration
Beekeepers meeting for end-of-the-year celebration

Dry season is here and the honey harvest has begun! In 2015 Pueblo a Pueblo’s Beekeeping project is partnering with coffee farmers from three different communities to create a sustainable economic livelihood. The veteran group is from a small village called Pampojila. They started with us in 2013 as our pilot program and are currently processing honey from their second harvest. Since the start of the season, Pampojila’s farmers have yielded over 120 pounds of honey and expect to double this amount by the end of March.

They are also assisting coffee farmers from the Totolya community, who has already produced 40 pounds of sweet honey in their first harvest season!  Both groups are mentoring the newest community to join our producer association. These “newbies,” from the village of Panamaquip, are currently refining their technical skillset and installing their own hives and apiary equipment in anticipation for next season.  

Although the groups work as separately in their own communities, they come together as a cooperative association under the name of Aj Tikonel Kab’ to sell their products. They also joined together in December to celebrate the New Year, discuss their advances and challenges, and develop their vision and goals for 2015.  

Working together as an association can be difficult because it involves mutual investment in equipment and knowledge sharing but Michelle Sims, Pueblo a Pueblo’s Project Manager, shared the benefits it has for beekeepers. “There’s strength in numbers,” she said.  “They’ll be able to work and learn together, produce more together, and eventually sell more honey together.”

All three community participants are glad to be working together and are excited to see the fruits of their labor from a truly cooperative and collaborative project. They now have new skills and improved livelihoods to support their families and their future.  

Beekeepers discussing 2015 goals
Beekeepers discussing 2015 goals
Training in Panamaquip
Training in Panamaquip
 
   

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