Our primary focus in all that we do at ALDEA is on improving health outcomes in the communities we partner with. The most visible part of our efforts is reflected in the infrastructure projects we support our partners in executing. These projects include the construction of potable water systems that bring safe, drinkable water directly to the homes of participating families, installation of gray water filters to treat wastewater, building of latrines for safe disposal of human waste, and installation of improved cookstoves and ventilation systems to more efficiently use firewood and eliminate smoke inhalation while cooking. These all have immediate and tangible effects on the mitigation of risk factors associated with contracting gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses.
An equally essential part of our work to improve health outcomes in partner communities is strengthening the knowledge and skills of community members to address and manage their health and nutrition. This takes the form of ongoing workshops focused on maternal and child health, nutrition, family planning, management of hygiene and sanitation infrastructure, and more. The training of community health promoters provides each community with individuals that are highly knowledgeable in many key aspects of public health and understand the context that community members live in. An example of this work can be seen in Tonajuyu in Chimaltenango, where women in the community recently participated in a workshop focused on identifying how to ensure adequate nutrition of all family members, especially young children who are most at risk of malnutrition.
Although the results of these efforts aren’t as easy to see as clean water from a new water system spraying from a faucet, this aspect of our work forms the bedrock of the sustainability of our programs once our program cycle in a community ends and we move on to new partners. Informed citizens taking action to create and maintain healthy communities guarantee that the impact of our work is felt for generations to come.