Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty

by WINGS
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Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
Family Planning for Guatemalans Living in Poverty
One of our nurses placing an implant at a jornada
One of our nurses placing an implant at a jornada

During a recent team training, we split into small groups to do a Círculo de Diálogo - Dialogue Circle. The first discussion question was what motivates us to work at WINGS. When it came time for Tatiana, one of our lead nurses, to share, she answered with this story: 

“The patient was 17 and came in alone, while her mother and her partner, who was 7 years older, waited outside the school where we were putting on the clinic.  She approached me, explaining - no tengo hijos y no los quiero ahora - I don’t have children and don’t want them right now. I was recently trained in differentiated care for teenagers and went through the age-appropriate counseling that I’d learned, explaining the long-term reversible contraceptive methods we provide, how they are placed, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. The patient decided that a hormonal implant was the best option for her and left to take a pregnancy test. 

After a few minutes, she returned with a negative result but looked discouraged. She told me, “I’m actually not going to get any method today.” I was confused by the sudden change in attitude and asked why. She replied, “When I told my partner I wanted the implant, he discussed it with the health center nurse that is outside. That nurse said that implants - se chupe la matriz - suck away the uterus, making my uterus too small to have children. Because of this, my mom and my partner tell me I can’t get the implant.”

I showed the patient the small, plastic implant, explained again that it is placed in the arm and does not affect the ability to have children. I also reminded her that it is her fundamental right to be able to choose a contraceptive method that works best for her. She asked me if I would be willing to explain all of that again, but this time to her partner and mother. I agreed, and when they came in, I reviewed again the information about the implant and answered the questions that they had. I remember the patient’s mother saying, “if I had known this, I wouldn’t have used short-term injections for so many years!” Her partner mentioned that he thought implants were made of metal. He asked the patient if he could watch the implant being placed so that he could feel confident sharing this information with his friends, who, he said, also had a lot of questions about this topic. 

The patient received the implant and left content with and sure of her decision, and I talked to the local health center about organizing a training session with their staff.”

The communities WINGS serve face not only a lack of access to dignified reproductive healthcare, but also a lack of evidence-based information. We thank you for your continued support that enables Guatemalan women and men to make informed, personal decisions about their reproductive health. 

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WINGS team shares information in Baja Verapaz
WINGS team shares information in Baja Verapaz

2022 marks the beginning of our expansion into two new departments - Izabal and Baja Verapaz. These two departments border the department of Alta Verapaz, where we have had a presence since 2013.  As part of our expansion, WINGS established a fourth mobile unit team, consisting of a new vehicle, equipment, and additional team members in the region, including Nancy, a nurse who joined us in January. 

In March, Nancy led a jornada (clinic day) in the community of La Cresta in Alta Verapaz where 15 women arrived to receive a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). As Nancy met and interacted with the patients, she found that 8 of those patients were carrying a small “tarjeta de recordatorio,”  a reminder card that WINGS provides to indicate the date that a LARC was placed and the date that it needs to be replaced. These 8 patients had visited a WINGS jornada 5 years ago and kept the card ever since, choosing to return to WINGS for the removal.

As Nancy got to know each of the patients, she discovered that 5 of the patients came to remove and replace subdermal hormonal implants to receive 5 more years of protection; 2 patients requested the removal without replacement, as they had decided they and their family were ready to have a child; and the final patient was securely in menopause and no longer needed a contraceptive. 

At WINGS, we are proud to be part of our patient’s reproductive lives - proud to be able to provide the resources that enable them to decide if, when, and with whom to grow their families. We are grateful for your continued support which allows us to provide reproductive health services in two new departments in 2022 and, one day, throughout Guatemala. 

Wishing you all the best,

Elissa and the entire team at WINGS Guatemala

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WINGS 2021 Clinical Results
WINGS 2021 Clinical Results

We are so grateful to each of our supporters for celebrating our 20th anniversary with us throughout 2021. In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we not only survived but thrived, albeit with a vastly different distribution of services than what we had originally projected. Leading up to 2020, tubal ligations had become one of our most sought-after services. But because hospital access was limited due to pandemic priorities, we could not offer the number of clinics originally intended. We provided 466 out of a projected 1,609 tubal ligations (29%). Fortunately, vasectomies can be performed in almost any clinical setting. As a result, we aimed to provide 580 and provided 945 vasectomies (163%). This is a true success story of 2021.

As is clearly visible from our Short-Acting Total, we nearly tripled our projection for short-acting contraceptive methods thanks to the efforts of our Youth Leader Program and Volunteer Promotor Network. We are grateful to these groups for their continuous dedication to serving their local communities despite the continual access challenges posed by the pandemic.

In addition to this clinical highlight, we also launched our first Community Advisory Board, established a legacy giving program, and grew our social media engagement of our Youth Peer Education Program. We did all of this while acting as a national leader in pandemic precaution adherence, as well as welcoming a new Executive Director.

These notable accomplishments in building an ever stronger community of supporters means that we can look forward to providing even more reproductive health services  over the next 20 years.

Thank you for being a part of this journey with us,

The entire team at WINGS Guatemala

WINGS at work
WINGS at work
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Nurse Nely in Santa Lucia Utatlan, Solola
Nurse Nely in Santa Lucia Utatlan, Solola

In the past few weeks at the helm of WINGS, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the incredible work that we have been doing for the past 20 years. As we look to finish up this year, I have specifically been reflecting on WINGS’ goals and practices around diversity, equity and inclusion, something that has always been central to our mission and vision and is only that much more relevant and necessary as we embark on our next 20 years of organizational growth and success.

Knowing that the content of our work pulls on diverse and complex cultural contexts, taboos, and values and requires that patients feel trust and deep respect from our staff, WINGS makes a point of hiring staff from the communities we serve. In 2021, we launched our first Community Advisory Board, ensuring that the voices of our patients, community partners, and program participants are meaningfully reflected in our program design and evaluation. To ensure transparency and accountability, this advisory board has direct communication with staff leadership as well as with our Board of Directors. The person-centered work culture of trust, care, and open dialogue that we have established at WINGS has laid the groundwork for us to now dig into more complex DEI work as a team. This must include both inward and outward focused needs - working, for example, to make our services more accessible to marginalized groups including indigenous communities, the LGBTQIA+ community, and individuals with disabilities, but also looking at how, as a team, we might better listen and understand the diverse representation that exists on our staff, and create hiring and staff development practices that hold space for increased diversity, equity, and inclusion over time.

While the implications of the global COVID-19 pandemic continue to guide our daily routines at WINGS, I am excited to look toward the future, knowing that we are always striving to make our service delivery and our workplace even more inclusive.

We are so grateful to our supporters for making the past 20 years possible and we look forward to sharing with you as we embark on the next 20 years together.

WINGS Promotoras in Alta Verapaz
WINGS Promotoras in Alta Verapaz
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It is with feelings of both gratitude and sadness that I write to inform you that as of August 31, Rodrigo Barillas will step down as Executive Director of WINGS Guatemala. Rodrigo leaves WINGS to assume the position of Executive Director at the newly established Luis von Ahn Foundation, which plans to support community-based organizations working in Guatemala.

We are tremendously grateful for Rodrigo’s leadership, dedication, and service to our mission over the past seven years, and appreciate the strong position in which he leaves our beloved organization. During his tenure, WINGS has experienced significant growth, expanding its presence to over half the country. From pioneering a single mobile clinical unit, WINGS now operates three mobile units, thus becoming the second largest private provider of sexual and reproductive health services in Guatemala. 
 
Looking ahead, the Board has formed a Transition Task Force to oversee the search and transition process for our next Executive Director. We are partnering with an executive search firm to ensure we find the best possible person to lead WINGS into the future. As the search is underway, the Board has selected Eleanor Unsworth, WINGS Program Director, as Interim Executive Director. Eleanor joined WINGS in 2016. As Program Director she is responsible for the administrative supervision of the WINGS field teams, including for our youth programs, promoter network, and clinical services. She has close to 15 years of experience working in reproductive health in both the US and Guatemala. Eleanor graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Community Health and Women’s Studies, and completed a Master’s in Non-Profit Management from Northeastern University. Fully bilingual and with strong ties to Guatemala, we feel she is fully capable of leading us through this transition period. (To learn more about Eleanor, please check out this recent conversation she had with Rodrigo.)
 
Having seen WINGS flourish over the past few years, serving clients in mostly rural areas of Guatemala with efficiency and compassion, and providing excellent clinical services, I hope you feel as confident as the Board does about our future. We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and will keep you informed of our progress.

With appreciation on behalf of WINGS Board of Directors.

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Organization Information

WINGS

Location: Antigua, Sacatepequez - Guatemala
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WINGSGUATEMALA
Project Leader:
Kirsten Taylor
Development Director
Antigua, Sacatepequez Guatemala
$94,968 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,640 donations
$55,032 to go
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