We are looking for a new Development Director, working in our office in Quetzaltenango. The Development Director is responsible for meeting the needs of Primeros Pasos and its programs through generation of funds, volunteers, partnerships, equipment, and supplies. The Development Director will have a deep understanding of the philosophy, goals, and objectives of Primeros Pasos and the needs to meet them. He or she will work collaboratively with all staff members and will report to the Board of Directors and General Director.
For more information, visit the more detailed job description on www.idealist.org.
In Guatemala and much of Latin America, women are primary caregivers, tasked with feeding and caring for their families and looking out for their health.
In 2011, the World Economic Forum ranked Guatemala 112 out of 135 countries in terms of gender equality. Women often struggle to obtain levels of education comparable to that of their male counterparts, and as a result their families suffer.
To directly combat this pressing issue, Primeros Pasos founded the women’s health education project, Stairway to Good Health, in 2007.
The goal of Stairway to Good Health is to “empower and encourage women to make conscious, informed decisions about their individual health and the health of their family and community.”
Activities begin by discussing hygiene practices and healthy habits, and as confidence is built, later progress to discussions on more taboo topics like menopause and its effects.
Activities are participative and welcoming, and aim to encourage education in the women which can then be taken back to their families and communities.
Thus far, the project has been successful with many positive responses.
“When I go to the clinic with my kids, they always give me good service,” one participant noted. “The Program is a great benefit for me and my family, and the educators teach us lots of things that we didn’t know… they teach us to have self-esteem. God bless the good-hearted people that support the clinic and this benefit for me and my family.”
Another participant mentioned “I have four children. The program Stairway to Good Health is a great help for my family because we have scare economic resouces… I hope that the Program continues giving us this service because we need it; we need the training as well as the health care for my kids and my husband. I hope that the Program continues because it is a great service to my family. Thank you.”
Currently, Primeros Pasos works with six separate groups of women throughout the communities of the Palajunoj Valley. Three year-long modules comprise the curriculum of the program, which educates women about family health and personal development.
Family planning and community participation are two important topics addressed in the program, and in the final year women are able to become health educators and start new health focus groups, or they can plan and educate a project to educate their communities. Women with good attendance are entitled to free medical and dental services in the clinic for herself and her family.
The Stairway to Good Health project will continue to empower women to raise healthy families and be confident, active members of their communities.
To support programs like these, consider making a financial contribution to Primeros Pasos at http://www.primerospasos.org/donate/ .
The Primeros Pasos clinic is the sole source of health care for many Guatemalans in the Palajunoj Valley. Still, there are many communities in the valley that are so remote that traveling to the clinic is nearly impossible. To reach these communities, Primeros Pasos operates mobile clinics throughout the region at least four times a year.
Last week the staff conducted one such clinic at the Bella Vista primary school, located about a 45-minute drive from the Xela city center. The mobile staff, consisting of three Guatemalan medical students and our children’s health educator Magui, spent two days testing for parasites and other common illnesses, examining eyes, ears, and throats, taking the heights and weights of the children, and handing out medicines with specific instructions to take home to parents.
“Almost all of the children, maybe even all of them had parasites. It seemed like most had never had their height and weight taken, since they didn’t know how to step on scales or stand against the measuring tape.”
27% of the country’s rural population does not have access to clean sanitation facilities, contributing to the spread of afflictions such as diarrhea and E. Coli, which when left untreated can be fatal. At the Bella Vista school, Primeros Pasos has installed a hand washing station to help eliminate the spread of these preventable illnesses. Other mobile clinics operated by Primeros Pasos include dental check-ups and health education workshops.
Another volunteer, Sheena, mentioned that the children at Bella Vista “really seemed to use and enjoy the hand washing stations.” She also stated that given how difficult it is to get out to the sites of the mobile clinic, it’s “easy to see” why it’s difficult to impossible for residents of the valley to get to a doctor.
She mentioned that many older women from the area who were feeling sick came in to see the doctors after the sessions with students were finished, illustrating the importance of the rare opportunity to receive medical care.
To find out how you can make a difference in the lives of children like those at the Bella Vista School, visit us at http://www.primerospasos.org/donate/ .
Our mission is to improve the quality of life of the rural communities in Guatemala through integrated health education programs and access to medical services.
Through the years Primeros Pasos has identified the most significant disparities among women and children and we have focused our programs to target these vulnerable populations. Each year we give mothers the tools to become active participants in their self-care, and as the primary caretakers, the care of their families.
With your gift to Primeros Pasos, we’ll email a printable certificate to your Mom or honoree (be sure to fill out the dedication information on our online donation form). Thank you for your support, and Happy Mother’s Day!
In 2012 we started our Nutritional Recuperation Program that helped 26 malnourished children recuperate their normal height and weight. We also taught their families about important health topics, ensuring that the children would continue to grow and live a healthy life.
This year we’ll expand the program by working in some of the most remote communities in the Palajunoj Valley with a group of 20 low income pregnant mothers and 30 chronically malnourished children under two years. However, to be able to continue our work we need your help!
For 2013 we’re partnering with One Day’s Wages in order to raise the money we need. One Day’s Wages has agreed to support the project with $8,000 if we manage to raise $2,000. This 80/20 match scheme is the largest portion One Day’s Wages has ever awarded, which proves their belief in the importance of our project.
The 80/20 match scheme means that every dollar you give us has an actual effect of 5 dollars. Help us and the children of the Palajunoj Valley by making a small contribution to our program. Or maybe you can even spare one day’s wage?