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Aug 16, 2019

Hygiene Heroes

The new Ambassadors with their faculty advisors
The new Ambassadors with their faculty advisors

There’s a new team of hygiene heroes at Agua Escondida Primary School!

Tomás Pacay Mendoza is the manager of Pueblo a Pueblo's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools project. On July 23, he visited Agua Escondida to meet with its brand-new group of Hygiene Ambassadors: students who will work alongside faculty to promote healthy habits at their school.

These twelve students were selected by their teachers because they are active, enthusiastic, and invested in making their school a better place. The new ambassadors met with Tomás during his visit to learn more about their roles and responsibilities as Hygiene Ambassadors.

Their first order of business? Spreading the word about the importance of hand-washing—and how to do it correctly. The ambassadors will be on duty during recess, when they will encourage their peers to wash their hands (with soap!) after using the restroom. They will also participate in school-wide hygiene education assemblies, the first of which is coming up soon—just next week!

For now, the lower school Ambassadors have to point their fellow students toward a temporary handwashing station made up of a water cooler positioned over a plastic basin. While the school’s upper level got a makeover by the WASH project earlier this year, the lower school must wait for a second phase of construction. With your support, Pueblo a Pueblo will initiate phase two and rebuild a bank of bathroom stalls in Agua Escondida’s lower school. The new facility will include boys’ stalls, girls’ stalls, and a fully functional handwashing station.

At the end of their meeting with Tomás, the Hygiene Ambassadors received vests to symbolize their role as leaders in their school. The Ambassadors are already doing good work—consider a donation today to back them up with the improved facilities they need to make their school a healthier place to learn, play, and grow!

Tomas addresses the new Hygiene Ambassadors
Tomas addresses the new Hygiene Ambassadors
Temporary handwashing station at the lower school
Temporary handwashing station at the lower school
New handwashing station at the upper school
New handwashing station at the upper school

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Aug 13, 2019

Help Us Reach Our Goal Today!

Project manager Vilma Mendoza hard at work
Project manager Vilma Mendoza hard at work

We at Pueblo a Pueblo remain committed to bringing sexual and reproductive health education to women here in rural Guatemala. Our team of health educators has designed an updated curriculum which will reach women of all ages, both married and unmarried, with a comprehensive program designed to equip women with the knowledge and resources they need to advocate for their health.

We need your support to make these plans into reality! Your donation to Women’s Health Champions will provide our team with the resources they need to train ten women to be sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) peer educators in their communities. To initiate the project, our team needs educational materials, including visual aids and other teaching tools as well as a copy of the Women’s Health Champions manual for each Champion-in-training.

We are also invested in providing our project partners with the resources they need to turn their health knowledge into effective self-advocacy. That’s why we’re dedicated to subsidizing Champions’ healthcare at local clinic Rxiin Tnamet during the project timeline. The project will also provide Champions with the opportunity to earn extra income through the sale of locally-produced, environmentally friendly, reusable cloth menstrual pads. Women’s Health Champions will equip women to empower other women. Help us reach our goal today!

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Jul 1, 2019

Busting Myths and Promoting Vaccination with Rebeca

Rebeca leads the workshop
Rebeca leads the workshop

Each month, Maternal Child Health project coordinator Rebeca Sosof leads an educational workshop for mothers sponsored through the project. During each session, Rebeca introduces a new strategy mothers can use to keep themselves and their young children healthy. This week, the topic was vaccination.

“I wanted all of the mothers to walk away having learned this: vaccines are important because they prevent dangerous diseases,” says Rebeca. “I want mothers to be aware of the risks of failing to vaccinate their children, and I want them to be able to make an informed choice about vaccination.”

One of the greatest barriers to vaccination in and around Santiago Atitlán is misinformation. Many families are worried that vaccines will hurt their children, or give them the very same diseases they are designed to prevent. The local rumor mill is full of frightening myths about vaccines, especially those administered to very young children.

Rebeca leads this workshop to set the record straight. “Vaccines wake up your child’s defenses so that they can fight off disease and grow up happy and healthy,” she explains to participants. “Your child may experience a mild reaction, but that’s because the vaccine is provoking something in their body—it is asking their body to do something totally new.” The momentary discomfort of an injection is worth it if you consider the benefit over time, she says—many vaccines will offer children protection for the rest of their lives!

During the session, the mothers traded stories of disapproving family members. One woman's mother-in-law tried to prohibit her from vaccinating her 2-year-old daughter; for another woman, it was her husband who said no. But the mothers, both of them in their second year as Maternal Child Health project participants, told Rebeca that when faced with this dilemma, they had remembered last year’s session on vaccines and taken their children to the health center to be vaccinated in secret.

Rebeca’s work is important because it links families to valuable health care resources in their communities. In Santiago Atitlán’s more rural neighborhoods, where many sponsored mothers live, health care workers conduct home visits to remind parents to vaccinate their children. “Many people ignore these reminders,” says Rebeca, “but sponsored mothers can use them to take advantage of free vaccination services at their local health center.”

We at Pueblo a Pueblo strive to build sustainable change in our partner communities. Education is key to our approach because it equips our community partners with the knowledge they need to best advocate for themselves and their families. Thank you for believing in the power of health education to transform lives. Your support helps Rebeca bust myths and promote healthy habits here in Guatemala!

Participants look on during the session
Participants look on during the session
Rebeca addresses participants
Rebeca addresses participants
Sponsored mother Santa participates in the session
Sponsored mother Santa participates in the session

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