This project will bring inclusive, comprehensive women's health education to women in rural communities around Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Staff will train peer health educators, or "Champions", to lead informational sessions in their own communities. The project will also empower women with the economic resources they need to advocate for their own health by equipping participants to distribute locally-manufactured reusable cloth menstrual pads as a source of personal income.
Guatemala was rated highest in Latin America on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index in 2016. This inequality is evident in the poor state of women's sexual and reproductive health, including the normalization of gender-based violence, and a high incidence of economic dependence among Guatemalan women. Given these challenges, many women living in the Lake Atitlan region do not have access to the information and resources they need to advocate for their own health and economic security.
Project staff will train peer educators, known as "Champions", to lead informational sessions on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in their own communities. Women who receive this education from other women will be better equipped to make informed, uninhibited decisions about their own health and rights. By equipping participants to generate their own income, the project will also empower women with the economic resources they need to advocate for their SRHR.
The spread of SRHR knowledge will challenge taboos around women's health and reverse the normalization of gender-based violence in the region, affecting broader change in the interest of gender equality. The project will also support women who are leaders in their communities with further leadership experience and access to program benefits, encouraging more women to invest in the health of their communities.