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MNCH: Apply now to the first Canada to Guatemala knowledge-exchange!

Raul Scorza blog

Raúl Scorza
Community Outreach and Communications Coordinator

Thank you for visiting Horizons' maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) project blog. We've posted a bit earlier than our usual bi-weekly schedule to share exciting news: the application form for the first of five knowledge-exchange visits between Canada and Guatemala is now available online!

Horizons has embarked on a four-year project alongside its Guatemalan partner, the Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education (Pies de Occidente), to contribute to the reduction of maternal and child deaths and improve MNCH in Totonicapán, Guatemala. As part of the project, which is largely funded by Global Affairs Canada, Horizons has organized a series of international knowledge-sharing visits between Canadians and Guatemalans, with the following end-goals:

  • Deepening Canadians' understanding of the importance of MNCH in Guatemala, Canada and globally 
  • Sharing knowledge between equals, helping enable cooperation between Canada and Guatemala to improve MNCH
  • Raising awareness of how the project aims to improve MNCH in Totonicapán

Each exchange visit will last 10 days, with the first Canada to Guatemala trip taking place from February 19-28, 2017 and the first Guatemala to Canada trip occurring from March 19-28, 2017.The cohort of 10 Canadians that will learn about the challenging MNCH realities Totonicapán, as well as share experiences and knowledge with their Guatemalan counterparts, will have an opportunity to participate in some of the tentative activities outlined below.

Canada to Guatemala
Proposed Activities
Overview of Guatemala, Canada relation; Guatemalan Public Health expert explains health care system crisis
PIES introduces Project; Mayan Priest presents Mayan worldview; Participants accompany Traditional Indigenous Maya midwives; Explore Quetzaltenango market
Workshop on Culturally Pertinent MNCH care at Guatemalan university; Participants accompany personnel in health centres; Visit glassblowing co-op 
Participants attend community health session for pregnant women and families; Participants accompany Traditional Indigenous Maya midwives; Visit Museum of Mayan Garb
Participants deliver basic workshop on neonatal resuscitation/ALARM programs to medicine, nursing students; Participants attend session in support of MNCH with Indigenous leaders; Participants interviewed by media involved in pro-MNCH campaign
Participants learn how gender discrimination and violence impact MNCH; Participants present workshop on basic, pertinent MNCH practices or Aboriginal Health practices and issues to traditional midwives; Participants attend health home visits or present basic NRP/ALARM workshop to health personnel 
Traditional Mayan ceremony; Feedback on exchanges; Visit to Chichicastenango market; Participants explore Quetzaltenango
Depart for and explore Antigua; Return to Guatemala City; Feedback on exchanges and dinner at Hotel Conquistador

Horizons will ask participants to meet the following expectations prior, during and after the exchanges.

  • Before departure, read preparatory literature distributed by Horizons and attend mandatory briefing sessions.
  • During the visit, provide feedback on the exchanges in order to assist Horizons in creating a document detailing best practices in engaging the public in MNCH. The document will be published in English, Spanish and Maya K'iche.
  • Upon return, raise awareness in Canada of the importance of MNCH and how the project aims to improve the same in Totonicapán. 
Participants are strongly encouraged to welcome the visiting cohort of 5 Guatemalans (including traditional Indigenous Maya midwives and other health providers) for public events to help meet the awareness expectation, but this is only one of many ways through which participants can profile MNCH and the project in their communities.   

There is only one necessary criterion to participate: being professionally involved in an MNCH-related field or being a prominent community advocate in support of MNCH.

This includes, but is not limited to: 

Potential Participants
Midwives Public health personnel
Nurses Early childhood development specialists
Physicians Community leaders
Community health or social workers Gender violence experts

However, when reviewing applications, Horizons will consider the below experience and qualities as assets.

  • Experience providing care to, or working with, underserved populations or Aboriginal Peoples
  • Eager to learn about MNCH from a social justice perspective
  • Open to learn about, and share, Indigenous approaches to health
  • Knowledgeable in ALARM International, Neonatal Resuscitation or Emergency Skills Workshop Programs
  • Committed to raising awareness for the entire duration of the project
  • Able to demonstrate record of supporting gender equality
  • Moderately fluent in Spanish

The application form, which you can find here, will be available until midnight, October 13th

Horizons' Info Session on Knowledge-Exchanges

Keep track of Horizons' events to attend a session on the exchanges!

After the deadline, Horizons' Selection Committee (consisting of the Executive Director, Program Manager, and Community Outreach Coordinator) will work to select a diverse, multi-disciplinary cohort of participants. All applications are welcome, including those from underrepresented or Aboriginal peoples, and all applicants will be notified of results on October 19th.

A fee of $1500 CAD is required for the exchange. This fee will cover the match for participants' own expenses - which include accommodation (hotel), transportation (ground transport), meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and workshops - and help partially cover the same expenses for Guatemalan visitors. Horizons will clarify which expenses are not covered by the fee.

Remember: You may learn more about the knowledge-sharing visits at our upcoming information session at Peterborough Public Health on Tuesday, Sept. 20th. Click here to get more details and RSVP.

If you have any questions about the project, the knowledge-sharing visits, or your application, please contact Raúl Scorza at rscorza@horizons.ca.


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