Empowering Indigenous Women in Guatemala to Advocate for Maternal Health Rights
This project strengthened the capacity of indigenous women's advocacy groups to promote their right to culturally appropriate maternal health services in Guatemala.
This project, funded by the United Nations Population Fund and the Population Council, began with a baseline analysis of the quality of culturally appropriate maternal care provided in 19 health centers in nine departments in Guatemala that reported having implemented Guatemala's 2010 Norms for Integrated Health Care.
The project had two main activities:
- Building the capacity of networks of indigenous and Ladina women's groups in three regions of Guatemala: Sololá (Xejuyup), El Quiché (Chichicastenango), and Izabal (Livingston) to advocate for culturally appropriate maternal health services.
- Promoting and disseminating intercultural maternal health models within a human rights framework in selected areas, in collaboration with women’s organizations and other key stakeholders.
Capacity-building workshops and meetings were conducted with indigenous women's groups and groups of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in the three regions to create awareness of the lack of culturally appropriate maternal health services and cultivate advocacy leadership.
Follow-up workshops were subsequently held to assess the effectiveness of the advocacy efforts undertaken by workshop participants, in which groups shared their experiences and Council staff presented findings from the baseline assessment. To build on this progress, the Council convened a two-day "International Seminar on Intercultural Health from an Indigenous Perspective" in which representatives from the women's and TBA groups came together with representatives from ministries of health and key stakeholders from seven countries in the region to build connections to better develop culturally appropriate service provision.
The project also organized an exchange trip for a group of Guatemalan obstetrical care providers to the Otavalo hospital in Ecuador, which offers an excellent model of culturally appropriate maternal health care. Council staff visited participants in this exchange at their home hospitals to assess progress in improving service provision.
As a result of the capacity-building workshops, the Council identified women's groups that would take a leading role in national-level discussions about culturally appropriate services and communicated these discussions to other organizations. The Council developed, pilot-tested, and distributed an advocacy tool for the groups to use and initiated a process of collaboration between women's organizations and groups of TBAs.
As a result of these activities, the MSPAS (Guatemala Ministry of Public Health) developed a manual on implementing culturally appropriate maternal health services, with technical assistance from the Population Council. In addition, a technical commission was formed that will follow up on the implementation of these services.
No publications are listed
Duration: 9/2009 - 11/2011
Population Council researchers:
Alejandra Maria Colom
United Nations Population Fund