- Xesajcap II was founded in 2007 by 27 Maya Kaqchikel families when their original village of Xesajcap was divided into two due to problems with a mine located there. Xesajcap II is now home to 55 families.
- The new community grew very quickly, with several families comprised of 8-10 members. Some of the children and women have died because of poor conditions and lack of access to resources.
- Though the community has always had very strong and dynamic committees, in 2015 we were the first external organization to begin working there.
- The first infrastructure built in Xesajcap II was the primary school, which was constructed in 2010 and offers education from pre-school to sixth grade.
- “Xesajcap” means “underneath the sweet stone” in Kaqchikel. Above the village there is a stone shaped like a honeycomb.
- For health attention people need to travel five miles to the county seat of Santa Apolonia. The community does not have access to public transportation, and in most cases they make this trip on foot.
- There is no access to water in Xesajcap II. Women and girls haul water from a spring outside the village 4-5 times per day, every day, spending 2-3 hours on this task alone. During the dry season they have to walk even longer distances to get water as the springs go dry.
- The community has had electricity service for 21 years, since before the original village divided into two.
- The families who live in Xesajcap II work mainly in subsistence agriculture, producing corn and beans for their own consumption, without a surplus that they can sell.
When we began working with Xesajcap II in July 2015, 89 percent of the community’s children under five suffered from chronic malnutrition. So far, we have seen this chronic malnutrition rate reduced to 84 percent, with further reduction expected upon completion of the rest of the programs.
Integrated Approach to Development: Xesajcap II’s Progress to Date
- Community Mobilization and Empowerment: In Progress (Began July 2015 with completion expected June 2017)
- Nutrition: In Progress (Began July 2015 with completion expected June 2017)
- Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: In Progress – Sanitation and hygiene projects began in March 2016, with completion expected in August 2016. Water system project implementation timeline is yet to be determined.
- Food Security (Sustainable Agriculture): In Progress (Began July 2015 with completion expected June 2017)
- Family Planning: In Progress (Began July 2015 with completion expected June 2017).
- Disaster Risk Reduction: In Progress (Began March 2015 with completion expected June 2017)
“I am 41 years old and have seven children. Every day I get up very early to prepare food for my husband and my children. Among the heaviest activities that I have to do are collecting firewood in the forest and obtaining drinking water, which is the most difficult, as I walk 20 minutes to get a jar of water four times a day, every day. This activity has caused me problems in my back and legs due to the weight of the jar. I would really like to have water at home, that would make my life easier.”
Marta Batzibal (August 2015)