Completed Partnership: Primeros Pasos
Primeros Pasos, or “First Steps,” provides life-saving community health services in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, a primarily indigenous community where malnutrition is rated as the 4th highest in the world. Primeros Pasos is the only comprehensive and affordable source of local health care in the area and provides a wide range of medical, dental, and lab services to both adults and children. They also offer health education classes year-round to participating schools and community groups. Given the startling state of healthcare in Guatemala, much of Primeros Pasos’ focus is on the important support and development of a child’s first 1000 days — their first steps in life.
WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP
GoPhil partnered with Primeros Pasos between 2016 and 2017 and supported their important work through a pilot grant focused on healthcare. The grant built upon their existing nutrition program, which aimed to address the very high levels of malnutrition in the Palajunoj Valley, where a staggering 70% of local people suffered from malnutrition. The pilot grant supported a range of nutrition-focused activities, including a series of nutritional and educational workshops and cooking classes.
“The objective of our nutrition recovery program is to bring education and nutritional education to the women and their children under the age of 5 who live in the valley. We guarantee medical and dental services, as well as all lab work completely free.” – Scarlet Samayoa Rios, Lead Nutritionist at Primeros Pasos
Through in-person field visits to Primeros Pasos, we saw the impact of their nutrition program firsthand. We traveled out to a little village right outside of town, where we were able to observe a class for moms, with babes in tow, focused on the many benefits as well as myths of breastfeeding. During the interactive session, all the women were totally engaged, laughing, and chatting, and we could see what a difference this type of “hands-on” education can make. Despite many obstacles, Primeros Pasos provides critical information and support to Guatemalan mothers striving to overcome severe malnutrition and to improve their children’s health.
Although our formal partnership with Primeros Pasos came to a close after this pilot grant, we continued to support them through a local grantmaking partner, EntreMundos. During the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, we indirectly funded Primeros Pasos emergency healthcare services via a larger grant to EntreMundos.