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PROMOTING HEALTH - EMPOWERING INDIGENOUS WOMEN: MIDWIFE PROJECT IN NORTHERN GUATEMALA

Climate-related disasters and the deterioration of agricultural yields pose a serious threat to food security and health care in northern Guatemala, especially for mothers and children. Together with our partner organization ASESCA, AWO International is committed to gender equity, food security and environmental protection.

The inhabitants in the regions of Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz have very limited access to public healthcare facilities. In particular, pregnant women, mothers and children under 5 years suffer from inadequate healthcare services. In addition, climate change and the associated periods of drought have a negative impact on agricultural yields in the region and lead to major food insecurity. To combat these challenges, AWO International is working with the Guatemalan NGO ASECSA. ASECSA is an umbrella organisation consisting of midwives associations and health promoter cooperatives.

They work primarily in rural areas, training midwives and health promoters (in Spanish as well as in Indigenous languages) to help combat chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Together with ASECSA, AWO International aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and improve access to basic medical care for children by training midwives in various health-related areas. One focus is on promoting the health of the indigenous groups Q’eqchi’ and Achi’. In addition to health aspects, food as well as the economic security of the local population are to be improved. This is to be achieved through improved cultivation techniques as well as better knowledge about the use of scarce water resources and the selling of agricultural products. ASECSA also helps to raise awareness among political actors regarding the drought caused by climate change and its devastating consequences for local the population in the region.

In addition, future investments in the areas of sales, weaving, basket weaving, agriculture, livestock farming and medical equipment are being planned. In order to strengthen gender equity, workshops offered specifically for women aim to promote leadership skills and to promote f inancial independence through increased knowledge of finance and financial control. In total, the project supports 383 families or 1,916 people in the districts of Rabinal (Baja Verapaz) and Cobán (Alta Verapaz). The focus is on supporting pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of 5 who face an increased risk of malnutrition and due to a lack of adequate healthcare.

We suffer from inadequate care in health facilities and violence against women. It’s good that we now have access to information, because we women have rights! The ASECSA and AWO International project is a huge support, because not everyone has access to public health care and a balanced diet.

Viandy Estela Chén Oxlaj, 21 years old
Community of Chiac, Baja Verapaz
Participant in the project “Advice for pregnant mothers”

Projectinfo

Place/Region Cobán/ Alta Verapaz; Rabinal/ Baja Verapaz
Partner ASECSA (Asociación de Servicios Comunitarios de Salud) https://asecsaguatemala.org/
Activities
  • Development and training of groups on methods of saving money for women
  • Training courses on climate-adapted agriculture
  • Training midwives to expand healthcare for mothers and children
  • Strengthening the coordination of local health institutions for improved health care
  • Workshops and counselling for mothers as well as dialogues on the prevention of (sexual) violence and teenage pregnancies
Duration 01.11.2023 – 31.12.2025
Budget 400,000.00 EUR
Sponsor Aktion Deutschland Hilft, WDR-Weihnachtskampagne 2023, „Mütter in Not“

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