Since 2004, Abriendo Oportunidades program (AO) has worked with young indigenous women who serve as mentors for girls. AO has a positive impact in reducing violence against girls and supports them to stay in school. Indigenous Q'eqchi' communities in Chisec (Alta Verapaz) are now facing the effects of the pandemic and the devastation caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota: loss of livelihoods and displacement. This project will respond to the emergency by channeling key resources to communities.
Na'leb'ak is an autonomous network of young indigenous women organized to reach girls and deliver key resources during the multiple emergencies caused by COVID-19 and hurricanes Eta and Iota. With support from multiple partners, Na'leb'ak mentors grow, produce and deliver 30,000 eggs to communities every month. Their vision is to become the first female indigenous corporation equipped to expand the Abriendo Oportunidades program and foster community resilience to the ongoing emergencies.
The Abriendo Oportunidades program channels resources directly to Na'leb'ak, who then work with communities in the response. During the pandemic, Na'leb'ak mentors delivered sanitary pads, food and hygiene products to girls in remote rural communities. During the storm, mentors mobilized to deliver food and provide shelter to families in emergency. They have a plan to deliver food to girls and communities displaced by the storm.
Support to Na'leb'ak translates to enhanced capacities to respond to emergencies, while empowering and positioning young indigenous mentors as agents of change in Chisec. Since 2013, mentors have worked in 80 communities and close to 4,000 girls ages 8 to 19.