When Vilma and her coworkers looked closer, they found that many women in and around Santiago Atitlán did not have the information they needed to make informed family planning decisions. According to a 2017 survey of the state of Sololá, where Pueblo a Pueblo operates, 78% of women who reported not using any form of contraception had not spoken with a healthcare professional on the subject.* To address this, Vilma’s team created Family Planning Champions, and soon they began training women to be family planning peer educators, or “Champions.” The project quickly became a mainstay at Pueblo a Pueblo.
So Vilma and her team set out to revise what they had created.
Enter Women’s Health Champions, a more inclusive, more comprehensive project to bring women’s health education to the Lake Atitlán region. “It’s not just family planning anymore,” explains Vilma. “It’s about the whole health of women at all stages of life.” After all, whether or not participants are wives, mothers, daughters, or grandmothers, they are women first, and their own bodies and selves need and deserve care. The new project will feature an expanded curriculum that more fully addresses sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), topics which are fundamentally important to the ability of all women to live full and healthy lives.
“In my mind,” says Vilma, “Women’s Health Champions is about three things: helping women advocate for their own health, caring for the environment by promoting ecologically friendly products like reusable cloth menstrual pads, and creating spaces for women to design new sources of income that belong to them.” We can’t wait to see this new project come into being. After all, Women’s Health Champions fosters collaboration between women—and when women work together, they are capable of incredible things.
This vital project is fully designed and ready for implementation—now Women’s Health Champions needs funding to get off the ground! Our first goal is to raise $9,500 to fund the first year of the project. Please consider supporting our Women’s Health Champions; visit our website to learn more, click here to donate (make sure to enter "Women's Health Champions" in the notes), or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
*Observatorio de Salud Reproductivo de Guatemala, http://osarguatemala.org/