Women's Health Initiative
Women in rural northwest Guatemala tend to serve traditional childbearing and rearing roles. However, some women do take part as leaders of the community, acting as village leaders, health promotors, and schoolteachers.
Beneath all this is the prevailing undercurrent that few women do have systemic support systems. This is one of the developing areas of focus for Casa Colibrí: to provide support for women…in the way of education.
Education can help prepare women for expected changes in their bodies. It can bring the agency of understanding when something may not be right. And—hopefully—it can mitigate anxiety when managing the everyday challenges of womanhood.
Women who come to the primary healthcare clinic bring basic questions about aging, sexuality, anatomy, pregnancy, and more. Years of answering questions has gone into developing a curriculum for a health fair, where health information for women can be communicated.
Some of our topics: anatomy. Nutrition. STDs. What is menopause? What are red flags during pregnancy?
Information for any of this is readily available in the US, but not so much in rural Guatemala. For this reason, we held a women’s “health fair” where such questions could be readily answered through a thorough curriculum.
Is One-Off Education the Answer?
In May of 2019, Casa Colibrí held our first health fair for women as part of our women’s health initiative. The event was wildly successful—to the point that we’re working on building the event as another pillar of our healthcare programs
As much as we believe that education can grow autonomy, we also believe that the greatest strength in a community is the community itself. Many women seek help with depression, eating disorders, and domestic abuse when they come to the clinic. Few support groups already exist, yet women of older generations have knowledge and wisdom to share with their daughters and granddaughters. Part of this event was building a platform to bring these life lessons into a safe, supportive space to share within the community.