As confirmed COVID-19 cases increase in Guatemala, ALDEA and our sister organization ABPD are doing our best to continue our grassroots development work while also responding to growing emergency needs in our partner communities.
Since mid-March, we have suspended in-person programming with our partner communities to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and comply with government mandates. Travel remains severely restricted in the Chimaltenango area, our local ABPD office is closed, and staff are working from home. They reach out to community leaders and health promotors regularly by phone and are working continuously to assess their needs and provide support.
At the end of April, we delivered more than 6,000 masks and several gallons of hand sanitizer to our current partner communities in Tecpán and Comalapa to help them comply with government orders and minimize the potential spread of the coronavirus. We also distributed family planning methods, prenatal and children’s vitamins, and treatments for pediatric diarrhea. In one community that does not yet have a water system, rain barrels were going dry and they could not wash their hands as recommended, so we committed to trucking in water until the rainy season starts in a few weeks. Another community lost their vital family gardens to a hail storm, so we provided new seedlings.
In late May, our local ABPD staff completed a larger survey of families in our nine current partner communities. The results showed a critical need for support based on widespread loss of income, isolation due to lockdown measures, and rising food prices.
This second phase of our response focuses on food distribution for those of our partners who are going hungry. We are providing a month’s supply of corn, beans, and oil to about 600 of our hardest-hit families, starting with a pilot distribution in the highest-need community and expanding from there. We are also providing personal hygiene items, inputs for vital corn and bean crops that people are unable to procure on their own, and seeds for family gardens. For those that have not yet worked with us on potable water systems, we will expand the water delivery we have already done in one community to include two more communities.
Thank you to those generous donors who have stepped up recently to make this larger response possible. We anticipate the critical needs in our partner communities will continue to grow. Please consider making a gift to help us support our partners through this crisis.