April 2020: Update On COVID-19 in Guatemala

We hope you are safe and taking care of yourself during these difficult times. We are so thankful for the essential workers and first-line responders keeping our communities safe, healthy, and functioning. Although many of us feel stressed and frightened, WJI is inspired by the community support and solidarity we have seen in Guatemala and around the globe. This week, the first cases of COVID-19 reached Patzún, the town where we are based. Our hearts are with our staff and participants as well as all the families who are affected.

Lives have been quickly turned upside down in Guatemala since the first confirmed case of coronavirus a month ago. The government has closed schools and non-essential businesses, halted public transportation, sealed borders, and imposed a nightly curfew. Though absolutely necessary, these measures threaten many Guatemalans’ livelihoods, especially the most marginalized populations, and will likely contribute to increased violence against women.

Last month, WJI’s Executive Team made the difficult decision to suspend all field activities and our staff began working remotely. We are using this time to invest in our team and improve our programming to ensure we are a stronger organization coming out of this challenging period.

In response to the global pandemic, WJI is taking the following actions to support and protect the vulnerable women, families, and communities we serve:

We are continuing to support survivors of violence by providing legal and psychological counseling over the phone and through video consultations.

We are supporting our Community Advocates, providing them with the information and educational materials they need to help keep their communities informed and safe.

We are partnering with organizations across Guatemala to support a collective response to the pandemic by disseminating  resources, creating informational videos and radio spots in Mayan languages, and ensuring aid and information reaches our partner communities.

We hope that the situation will improve soon and that you and your loved ones stay safe. Please feel free to reach out to us directly if you have any questions.

We wish you health and security in this time of uncertainty.

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