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Summer Archives

Abby Hannifan

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala - Primeros Pasos


Situated in the western highlands of the Palajunoj Valley, Primeros Pasos services thousands of indigenous Mayan patients by offering primary care and health education. One of the clinic’s most outstanding programs is the Escalera a una Buena Salud (EBS … or “Stairway to Good Health”) women’s program, run by a confident and compassionate Guatemalan woman named Miriam. This women’s program has 3 modules. In the first, the women learn about basic women’s health issues (how to self-detect diseases, the importance of annual breast and cervix exams, how to explain puberty to daughters, etc.). In the second, the women learn about more empowerment-heavy topics, like how to speak in public, how to confront domestic violence, the importance of civic participation and leadership capacity, etc. In the third, the module I developed, the women are given the opportunity to formulate and implement a community project of their own by learning how to do a community diagnostic and survey community interests, how to create neighborhood asset maps, how to write a project proposal, and how to execute.


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