This report is a summary by Vicente Menchú, of his participation in the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22), a climate change event based in Marrakech, Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Vicente is a leader of Asociación Ajpu in Quiacquix. His participation took place in Espace Tamount, near Demnat, as well as Marrakech, Morocco, in November of 2016.

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Introducing Village Savings and Loan Associations in Quiacquix

Many types of micro finance have been introduced in poor communities around the world over the past few decades. In Guatemala there are multiple agencies, both non-profit and for-profit, that offer such services. Most offer loans to small groups of (mostly) women and charge interest rates that are low relative to other options available to the women. Some offer related micro insurance or simple savings plans. Many such agencies have a restricted area of operation, such that a large number of families do not have easy access to financial services. Conventional banks are also commonly not easy to access due to location or restrictions on the minimum value of accounts that is too high for the poorest people.

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Latrine Project – CIP Funding

Help for the Highlands of Guatemala Society in conjunction with our in-country partner organization Ajpu and based on consultation with the community of Quiacquix was made aware of the need for latrines in that community. Upwards of 190 families indicated their latrines were non-existent or in very bad shape.

In 2016 we had successfully completed the installation of 51 latrines in Quiacquix. This was a project we had started in 2015. In 2016 we raised funds to construct and install another 56 latrines in the community.

The money raised for this project was a combination of funds from private donors, from Rotary Clubs in Calgary, Alberta, and from the Government of Alberta through a Government initiative called “Community Initiatives Program International Development Grant” (CIP).

Please look, below, at the before and after pictures of some of the latrines we have installed, as part of this project. The pictures also give the number of people in the family and the reason they needed a latrine. The pictures show the value of this project. Please click on individual pictures to enlarge them and click on the return arrow to go back to the blog.

July 31, 2016 Field Report

Norma left Guatemala on July 27, so part of this week Bill was on his own.

The main highlight of this week was the review of the proposal for creation of a Village Savings and Loan Association. Norma and Bill over 2 ½ hours made presentations to a group of 19 women. Most of those were participants in the original full course last December. The women of Quiacquix are very conservative, and largely fearful of the cost of loans. Hence they had not started up a group as we had hoped. This time after our review and encouragement, with most of the original participants and a few new ones, they have plans to meet next week to start a group. They now understand better the very limited risks that they will incur.

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