Panabajal is a large village of 975 families, or approximately 6,045 people. The community has grown since it was founded in 1925 by only 4 families. It is located 5 miles from the municipal seat of Comalapa. The name “Panabajal” comes from the Kaqchikel “pan ab’ä jäl” or “stone corn,” because in the past the soil was very hard and there were many corn fields. Panabajal has 2 Catholic churches and 10 Evangelical churches; about 40 percent of the population is Catholic and 60 percent is Evangelical. All community members speak the Kaqchikel language, and 50 percent can also speak Spanish.
Agriculture is the primary productive activity in the community, where people mostly grow broccoli, carrots, sweet peas, potatoes, and strawberries. Some people work for larger farms at a rate of $6.50 per day, and others work as bakers, masons, or carpenters.
Panabajal has 2 schools serving 1,108 children from kindergarten through sixth grade. The community also has a high school where 157 students attend grades 7 through 9. There is a health post in the village, run by a nurse, that offers basic medical attention Monday through Friday. Ninety-five percent of the homes have electricity, and 85 percent of the roads are dirt.
ALDEA and ABPD began working with 500 Panabajal families in May 2019. 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. These projects began in May 2019, with completion expected in June 2021.
- 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 May 2019 with completion expected in June 2021.
- Community Mobilization & Empowerment: Trainings and activities with men, women, youth, and local authorities began in July 2019 with completion expected in June 2021.
- Nutrition Education: Trainings and activities began in July 2019 with completion expected in June 2021.
- Food Security (Sustainable Agriculture): Trainings and activities began in July 2019 with completion expected in June 2021.
- Disaster Risk Reduction: Activities will begin in February 2020 with completion expected in June 2021.