The name “Chajalajyá” means “fall of thin ice” in the Kaqchikel language, because it is in a cold area and frosts were common in the past. Located 9 miles from the municipal seat in the eastern part of Tecpán, Chajalajyá was founded around 1920 and is home to 300 families. About half of the families living there are Catholics and half are Evangelicals.
Agriculture is the main productive activity in Xecoxol, particularly corn and beans but also vegetables like broccoli, sweet peas, potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower. Some men in the community work at larger farms for about $5 per day. The village has a health post offering basic medical services twice per week and a school serving about 150 students in kindergarten through primary levels. Chajalajyá has electric service, and the roads there are about 80 percent dirt and 20 percent paved, but all are passable year round.
Chajalajyá has never received support from the government or other agencies for development initiatives. ALDEA and ABPD began working with 98 Chajalajyá families in July 2018. Our goal is to reduce chronic childhood malnutrition now, while supporting the community in building their capacity to address further development challenges on their own into the future. We are working together on:
- Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: A potable water system, sanitary latrines, gray water filters, and efficient vented stoves will reduce the risk of gastrointestinal diseases and improve indoor air quality, improving health and allowing children to make the most of the nutrients they consume. Work on these projects began in August 2018, and we expect them to be completed by February 2020.
- Family Planning: We provide training and family planning methods so that women and men have the opportunity to decide the number and spacing of their children. Work began in July 2018 with completion expected in June 2020.
- Community Mobilization & Empowerment: Trainings and activities began in July 2018 with completion expected in June 2020.
- Nutrition Education: Trainings and activities began in July 2018 with completion expected in June 2020.
- Food Security (Sustainable Agriculture): Trainings and activities began in July 2018 with completion expected in June 2020.
- Disaster Risk Reduction: Activities will begin in February 2019 with completion expected in June 2020.