Norma Baján, ABPD’s new Executive Director, recently took her team on a staff retreat to Panajachel, a town on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlán. This was not only an opportunity for her to get to know the team, it was also a chance to review the joint ALDEA-ABPD strategic plan. The ABPD team evaluated the indicators of success defined in the strategic plan and used them to assess the impact of our integrated program. Additionally, the team worked together to define the criteria for selecting potential partner communities and create a theory of change to serve as a North Star to guide the organization as it adapts to changes in context and community needs. As always, we want to recognize the hard work and dedication of all ABPD staff members. Their passion drives our success, and their expertise ensures a lasting impact on the communities we partner with.
Community-led development is our goal at ALDEA, and ABPD’s team is well suited to the task. The local field staff are from communities just like those we partner with. Their lived experiences give them an intimate understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing rural populations, and their personal successes serve as examples of empowerment for our program participants to follow. The team leverages these factors to effectively mobilize our partner communities to get involved, take action, and achieve real progress. Our field staff identify primarily as Kaqchikel Maya, and they conduct their work with program participants in the Kaqchikel language – which is essential as many participants speak little or no Spanish. Culturally relevant interventions are another key feature of our program that contribute to lasting outcomes. Real change starts from the ground up, that’s why we meet communities where they’re at, on their terms, to support them in improving their health and well-being.