Our Ongoing Response
At the height of the pandemic, from March 2020 until the end of 2021, our staff went to great lengths to provide support and relief. When communities in Guatemala closed to outsiders in March 2020, we were still able to supply emergency food and hygiene supplies to 1,600+ children and their families every month because our staff are members of the communities they serve.
Staff in Guatemala made an impressive pivot to virtual programming, quickly learning new technology skills and communications. They shared health and hygiene information related to COVID-19 prevention in their native language, K’iche’, on social media and over Whatsapp, radio, and local cable television. Our Education Coordinators produced a “Virtual Storytime” series, provided at-home literacy activities for students in our partner schools, and launched a virtual reading festival that everyone could celebrate safely from home.
When vaccines became available, staff worked with communities to dispel misinformation and encourage those who felt comfortable to protect themselves. Hearing other K’iche’-speaking local leaders share openly about their vaccine experience made a huge impact: in December 2021, Santa Lucía Utatlán’s vaccination rate numbered 46%, while the national average in Guatemala stalled at 21%.
Now, staff are getting back into communities. They've added increased hygiene protocols at schools including hand sanitizer and masks as well as classroom supplies as schools return to in-person learning. Staff members continue to make educational videos to supplement in-person workshops and clinics, and we have expanded opportunities for professional development and technology training for all of our staff in Guatemala.
While we’re thrilled to be back in person, the effects of the pandemic continue to ripple through our partner communities. Lost time, employment, and education have impacted all of the families we serve. After two years of school closures, staff are working diligently to address learning loss and literacy skills in our partner schools. We continue to train and employ community leaders and provide a source of income amid economic hardships caused by the pandemic. And we remain committed to safeguarding public health in our communities through resources, outreach, and educational programs.
Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time.