Introducing ABPD’s New Executive Director: Norma Baján

After a rigorous search, we are thrilled to announce that our partner organization in Guatemala, ABPD, is now under new leadership. Please join us in welcoming their new Executive Director, Norma Baján Balán!

Norma brings with her a wealth of skills and experience working to empower rural indigenous communities in Guatemala. We’d like to introduce her to you by sharing her letter below, addressed to our valued donors and supporters:

Hello, my name is Norma Baján Balán.

I’m originally from San Lucas Tolimán, Sololá and I identify as Maya Kakchiquel. I have a degree in Business Administration from Rafael Landivar University and completed studies in auditing. I am a graduate of the Asociación de Liderazgo in Guatemala and was selected for a fellowship in Central America. I have 25 years of experience working for non-governmental organizations in education and microcredit programs, focusing on women’s empowerment. On two occasions, I have been invited to the White House in recognition of my work with women and girls.

In 2022 I founded KOWIN, an initiative that seeks to connect talent with opportunity, focused on training recent high school graduates and connecting them with job opportunities through strategic alliances with organizations and companies. I also Co-Founder of MAIA ‘s Colegio Impacto – The MAIA Impact School is the first high school in Central America designed specifically for Mayan girls in rural Guatemala and has won several international awards. In addition, I am a founding member of E-Club Rotario Lake Atitlán.

I have published several articles in the Global Press Journal and Nómada Guatemala to provide a voice to women who do not have one, by publishing articles that disseminate the reality of many women in Guatemala regarding inequality, human rights violations, lack of equity, poverty and all the issues that affect indigenous women in Guatemala.

These are some of the awards I have received and publications I’ve authored:

● Winner of the 2018 Women Have Wings Leadership Award from the Colorado Women’s Foundation.

● Published Author(2020): Vocal Empowerment Curriculum for young Maya Guatemalan women/Currículum de empoderamiento vocal para jóvenes mayas guatemaltecas.

● 2019 winner of the Nómada and UNFPA 2019 Social Transformer Award.

Featured in LOOK magazine, 2018.

I look forward to working together with you to sustain and grow ALDEA and ABPD’s vital programs. Thank you for all you do to support the health and well-being of rural Guatemalan families!

Earlier this year we said farewell to ABPD’s previous Executive Director, Paco Enríquez, and we remain grateful to him for his 13 years of dedicated service. We are honored to bring Norma on board, and we can’t wait to share updates with you as this next chapter of ALDEA and ABPD’s partnership unfolds under her capable leadership.