They perform a vital role in hard-to-reach areas, where it can take hours to get to the nearest hospital by truck or foot along dirt tracks – which often comes at great expense – and in communities where Mayan beliefs and practices still play a part in everyday life. She tells the story of one woman who was found dead at home after ingesting poison. She had also killed her five-year-old daughter and was eight months pregnant.
She emphasizes that “women and indigenous communities are a majority in Guatemala” – it is time for them to enjoy the same voice and rights as other groups. The screening tool may not have detected all truly eligible women and included only those available to join the Circles. We may have excluded working mothers, women facing particularly harsh living conditions, women not given permission to participate, or women with poor levels of trust. Session attendance was not ideal; better selection of women based on interest and need may help increase retention, as might be adding in more productive activities, as suggested by participants.
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Violence against women was used as a counterrevolutionary tactic, where routine rape was commonplace. Today, violence against women is just as commonplace within Guatemalan society. However, it has taken time for collaboration to be recognised as mutually beneficial. Some stakeholders identified frequent changes of administration and staff at all levels in Guatemala as a challenge for collaboration, since these changes often require local networks to rebuild relationships from the beginning. Sharing the evidence has also improved Indigenous women’s health and human rights literacy.6 Using monitoring to identify weaknesses and manage improvements in health services has increased communities’ knowledge of what they are entitled to demand from their health services. Across Guatemala, complaints of domestic violence have skyrocketed as more women come forward to report abuse. Every week, it seems, a new, gruesome case emerges in newspapers, of a woman tortured, mutilated or dehumanized.
Lane’s aunt disappeared in 1981 after she joined left-wing guerrillas fighting the military government. Around the time Lane’s aunt died, news began to filter out of the rape, torture and murder of tens of thousands of women and girls – mostly from indigenous Mayan communities accused of supporting the insurgents. If you marry a Guatemalan girl, you shouldn’t worry that your family life will be boring. Local ladies adore their life, they are positive and make all people around them feel it. Fortunately, religiousness and conservativeness don’t prevent Guatemalan women from having fun and enjoying their life. Be ready to attend local festivals and other events with your Guatemalan bride. Judging by the number of Guatemala girls who register on dating websites and enter into relations with Western men, dating foreigners is rather popular.
Central to this legacy, that is the State’s failure to adequately respond to the ever-deepening normalization of violence, is the discouraging development and perpetuation of a socio-legal environment in which accountability lags and impunity soars. For Guatemalan women, this is a matter of life or death, whereby if lethal violence does not kill them, the heavy toll on quality of life, citizenship, and psychological health may be equally injurious. This article posits that alongside strong legislation, coherent support in areas deemed critical for implementation such as improved judicial access, resources, and oversight must also be addressed to advance beyond a rhetorical-legal adoption of these norms.
She spearheaded research to unveil Guatemala’s Black history and work to develop ideas for better public policy for marginalized communities. Wetherborn advocated for the recognition of Black Guatemalan communities in the Central American country’s census because, until 2018, Black Guatemalans needed to tick either the Indigenous or Latino boxes. Lucia Xiloj Cui is a Maya Q’echi’ lawyer fighting for justice, specifically in sexual abuse cases committed during Guatemala’s civil war.
It is in this gap where policy finds its most urgent, but often unmet purpose. Service user monitoring generates knowledge and evidence that can be used to advocate for change and improvements. Monitoring by Indigenous women is therefore key to ensuring the availability, physical and financial accessibility, cultural appropriateness, and quality of health and care services. Since 2008 ALIANMISAR, african bride together with Ministry of Health authorities, has advocated for improved quality, availability, and accessibility of culturally appropriate health services . Monitoring of health services by ALIANMISAR volunteers and staff from the ombudsman’s field offices includes interviews with service providers and users and an inspection of the facilities, equipment, supplies and medicines.
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When a community is occupied or destroyed, an entire community of women may be subjected to rape and sexual or domestic slavery, affecting the prosperity and health of the community after a conflict’s end. These workshops compliment other projects Mujerave carries out as well.
- In other cases, army officers considered rape as a means of humiliating and eliminating “the mothers of future guerrilla fighters.” Rape was also offered as a bargaining chip—a way women could stay alive.
- Violence against women was used as a counterrevolutionary tactic, where routine rape was commonplace.
- Their activities not only promote artistic skills, but they also influence others, build confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness, teamwork, tolerance and interpersonal skills.
- She became more confident in herself and in her leadership skills, and she was motivated to have a real influence on the political participation of women and young people within her party.
Historically, in the community of interest, which is in the rural Southwest corner of Guatemala bordering Mexico, a large majority (88%) of a convenience sample of women in the community-based care program self-reported postpartum contraceptive use. However, 72% of these women were using injectable contraceptives, which are considered short-acting, and are less effective at preventing unintended and closely spaced pregnancies; the second most common method was sterilization (21%). For the remaining women who did not seek sterilization or injectable contraceptives, 0.5% of them reportedly used contraceptive pills, 0.5% condoms, 0.5% lactational amenorrhea, and 1.6% reportedly relied on natural family planning.
She has held various positions in Guatemalan politics, serving as a National Congress member and magistrate in the first Court of Conscience of Guatemalan Women. Our findings add to the accruing evidence from LMIC that non-mental health specialists such as CHWs and local women peers can be effective delivery-agents of psychosocial interventions, including group interventions . This has important implications in yet another context where health professionals are scarce and where populations are additionally weary of consulting formal health services . As in other studies , our leaders received focused training and ongoing supervision. They shared mothers’ sociocultural context and already held their community’s trust and support, allowing them to access mothers and take on their new role with relative ease and increasing the intervention’s cultural safety and acceptability. The impact that participating in the intervention had on the circle leaders’ own wellbeing validates using a cascade approach for its delivery and speaks to the need for also addressing community-based health professionals’ psychosocial health needs. Women also struggle to access social services such as education and health and are more often the victims of violent crime.
At least 160 women have been killed in the first four months of 2021 in Guatemala — more than one per day. Amid more than 20,000 complaints of violence, few facilities are available for women to get help. Since the signing of the Peace Accords, however, economic concerns have come to rival security concerns as the primary motivating factor for Guatemalans to migrate. In surveys of Guatemalan immigrants along the U.S. border and of undocumented immigrants being deported, economic concerns have equaled or even surpassed the threat of violence as the impetus for making the journey.
So much pain and humiliation has been transforming into a new consciousness and forging a new leadership role among Guatemalan women. For instance, if you approach Guatemalan girls in a bar or a coffee shop, you’ll normally be received quite well, and could very likely come away with a phone number. I didn’t find this to be the case in all Central American countries (in Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica, specifically, I didn’t find the women — or the people in general — to be as friendly as in Guatemala). As well as exploring how to fund ALIANMISAR in the long term it needs to include an evaluation of how it works, what it works on, and the outcomes and impacts for Indigenous women and communities.
These are primarily greenhouses that Mujerave builds close to the homes of the women Mujerave collaborates with. This strategy makes our greenhouses culturally appropriate spaces for women to spend time in, and they promote gender equity by increasing the share of land and income women control within the family. Combined with workshops involving men and women from participating families that explore sexism and interfamilial violence in indigenous communities, and Mujerave is transforming neighbourhoods! To read about how gender informs Mujerave’s work, refer to Mujerave’s Needs Assessment.