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Chipatá, Santa Apolonia

Community Life:

  • Chipatá was founded 50 years ago by 10 Maya Kaqchikel families. Now, the village has grown to 280 families.
  • The community grew very quickly. It was common to find families with 10, 12 or even up to 17 members, but many of the children and women died because of poor conditions and lack of access to resources.
  • The village is located almost four miles from the county seat of Santa Apolonia. The community has always had very strong committees, and the first municipal mayor was actually born in Chipatá.
  • The first infrastructure built in the community was the primary school Las Mejoranas, named this way because it was built to “mejorar” (improve) the living conditions in the village. The primary school offers education from pre-school to sixth grade.
  • Chipatá’s name comes from an oak tree called “pata’n” in Kaqchikel. There were many of these trees in the area and there is still one in the school.
  • For medical attention people need to travel to Santa Apolonia. The community has access to public transportation two days per week.
  • Water access was not a problem in Chipatá initially, because there was a clean river nearby, but the river has been contaminated by the other communities upstream.
  • The community has had electricity service for 10 years.
  • The families from Chipatá engage in subsistence agriculture, producing corn and beans for their own consumption, without a surplus that they can sell.

Our Partnership:

When we began working with Chipatá in October 2014, 55 percent of the community’s children under five suffered from chronic malnutrition. So far we have seen this chronic malnutrition rate reduced to 28 percent, and we expect to see further reductions as the programs of our integrated approach are completed.

Integrated Approach to Development: Chipatá’s Progress to Date

  • Community Mobilization and Empowerment: In Progress (Began November 2014 with completion expected June 2016)
  • Nutrition: In Progress (Began September 2014 with completion expected June 2016)
  • Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: In Progress – Latrines project was completed in February 2015; remaining components are being implemented between March 2016 and October 2016.
  • Food Security (Sustainable Agriculture): In Progress (Began September 2014 with completion expected June 2016)
  • Family Planning: In Progress (Began September 2014 with completion expected June 2016). During our baseline assessment, we found only 21% of women in the community using family planning methods. After only a few months of implementing this program component, that number almost doubled.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction: In Progress (Began January 2015 with completion expected June 2016)

Community Perspectives:

“The health of my family has always been very poor. My six children have been very affected by the smoke in the kitchen when I am cooking, especially by respiratory diseases. My husband has not been very helpful because he has alcoholism problems. Thanks to the stove we built together with the help of ABPD/ALDEA, we now have a smoke-free kitchen, so my children do not get sick so often. Now I also know my rights and my family’s, and I can demand my husband to work for our kids’ welfare.”

– Rogelia Sotz Ramírez, 43 (March 2016)

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