- The largest of our partner communities to date, Xepatán is comprised of 380 families. Although no official census exists, the population is estimated at approximately 1,900 people, all of whom are ethnic Maya Kaqchikel.
- Xepatán is located five miles from the county seat of Patzún and is connected by a dirt road. Xepatán is the only community in Patzún where public transportation is available every day; in the others, transportation is only available on market days.
- The community has a primary school where grades one through six are taught. It also has a small medical clinic that treats minor illnesses.
- Almost all of the families in Xepatán are engaged in subsistence agriculture, producing corn and beans for their own consumption, without a surplus that they can sell. A small percentage of the families also have vegetable plots from which they can sell any surplus produce.
- Women, apart from helping with agriculture, make their own handicrafts—especially weaving.
- Some of the families are laborers in big farms, getting paid about $4 per day, working an average of two days per week.
- Farm workers from Xepatán grow broccoli, carrots, beets, and cauliflower that are sold to intermediaries and the exported, mainly to El Salvador.
- “Xepatán” means “strong tree” in Kaqchikel.
When we began working with Xepatán in 2013, 67 percent of the community’s children under five suffered from chronic malnutrition. As of June 2015, when our projects were completed, this rate had been reduced to 60 percent.
Integrated Approach to Development
Xepatan completed our full integrated approach in June 2015. Together we implemented the following program components:
- Community Mobilization and Empowerment: When ABPD started its work in Xepatán, only four women were part of the local committees making decisions about community development activities. When they graduated from our programs, 14 women played key roles on these committees.
- Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
- Food Security (Sustainable Agriculture)
- Family Planning
- Disaster Risk Reduction
“I feel so lucky ABPD came to work in our community. Before, I always prepared the food the same way for my family, using ingredients I thought were good for us, but they were not. Now, with the training I have received, I can prepare different recipes at home using ingredients that are easy to find in the community, or I can even produce them myself. I have a family garden where I grow radishes, carrots, onions, chard, cauliflower, and lettuce, and also fruit trees like avocado, peach, and plum trees. This helps not only our economy but also our health.”
-Aura Marina Sir Porras (28)