MNCH: Apply Now – Second Canada-Guatemala Knowledge Exchange!

Thank you for visiting Horizons’ maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) project blog. We’re excited to announce online applications for the second MNCH knowledge exchange from Canada to Guatemala, planned for February 17-26 2018, are now live!

Participants will accompany traditional Indigenous Maya K'iche' midwives on home visits to remote communities

Participants will accompany traditional Indigenous Maya K'iche' midwives on home visits to remote communities

The 10-day exchange is part of a four-year initiative, supported by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by our local partner, PIES (the Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education), that is strengthening the delivery and use of culturally-pertinent MNCH services for thousands of Indigenous Maya K’iche’ women, children and families in the province of Totonicapán, Guatemala. You can read more about the successes of the project’s first year here.

Knowledge sharing between participating Canadians and Guatemalans directly involved in the project, including traditional Indigenous Maya K’iche’ midwives, health care providers, educators and experts, will help deepen Canadians’ understanding of the importance of MNCH at a global level and enable cooperation between Canada and Guatemala to improve MNCH.
12 participants will form part of a team that will not only learn about the challenging MNCH realities in Totonicapán, a predominantly Indigenous Maya K’iche’ province facing some of the worst maternal and child health indicators in Guatemala. The team will also witness first-hand how this locally-led project is helping overcome these challenges, having the unique opportunity to participate in the following proposed activities:

Tentative Activities

  • Introduction to the MNCH project by PIES’s Executive Director and Project Coordinator
  • Panel with traditional Indigenous Maya K’iche’ midwives and male Indigenous Maya community leaders on Indigenous approaches to maternal and child health
  • Session with Maya Priest, presenting an overview of the Maya worldview, culture and understanding of well-being and health
  • Visits to rural Maternal and Child Health Care Centres, discussing challenges and successes with formal health staff and observing medical attention 
  • Accompanying traditional Indigenous Maya K’iche’ midwives and PIES health educators in conducting patient home visits and a health promotion campaign in remote Indigenous Maya K’iche’ communities
  • Visit to Totonicapán National Hospital, observing medical attention and holding knowledge-exchange workshop with formal health staff on relevant MNCH concepts
  • Workshop and discussion facilitated by PIES with Indigenous Maya K’iche’ children and adolescents participating in culturally-pertinent sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) campaign
  • Presentations on the health system crisis in the country and the impact of gender violence on MNCH outcomes
  • Cultural activities in Antigua Guatemala, former capital of the country; Quetzaltenango, second largest city in Guatemala; and Panajachel, town on the shores of Lake Atitlán

Horizons will ask selected participants to meet the below expectations prior, during and after the exchange:

  • Before departure - Read preparatory literature distributed by Horizons, and attend mandatory briefing sessions.
  • During exchange - Document experiences and provide feedback to assist Horizons in creating a publication detailing best practices in MNCH public engagement. 
  • Upon return - Help raise Canadians’ awareness of the importance of improving MNCH, and how the project is contributing to improve the same in Totonicapán.

There is only one necessary criterion to participate: be a professional that works in an MNCH-related field, or be a prominent community advocate in support of MNCH. This can include, but is not limited to: family doctors, OBGYN professionals, pediatricians, midwives, nurses, community health workers, public health personnel, researchers, community leaders or gender equality experts.

However, when reviewing applications, Horizons will consider the following qualities as assets (not necessities):

  • 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
  • Committed to continuously reach out to established and new networks to promote the project and MNCH in Totonicapán
  • Support for gender equality within and outside own practice
  • Moderately fluent in Spanish 

The application form, which you can find here, will be available until midnight, September 17th.

Participants will also take part in a traditional Maya Ceremony

Participants will also take part in a traditional Maya Ceremony

Horizons’ Selection Committee (consisting of the Executive Director, Program Manager and Community Outreach Coordinator) will work to select a diverse, multidisciplinary team of participants after the deadline. All applications are welcome, including those from underrepresented or Indigenous peoples. All applicants will be notified of results on September 25th.
A $1,500 Canadian dollars donation to the MNCH project is requested. The donation will help fund the knowledge exchange component of this initiative. Tax receipts for the donation are available upon request.
A breakdown of what is and what is not included in this trip follows:

Trip Breakdown


  • All accommodation (hotels)
  • Airfare to-and-from Toronto International Pearson Airport
  • All ground transportation
  • All meetings and activities
  • Meals (Breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Translation

Not Included

  • Arrival to-and-from Toronto International Pearson Airport
  • Extra luggage costs
  • Single-occupancy rooms
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Non-meal, service-related tips

Click here to learn more about the purpose of the exchange and read testimonies from previous Canadian exchange participants.

If you have any questions about the project, the knowledge exchange or your application, please contact Raúl Scorzaat 1-888-729-9928 / 905-372-5483 [ext 24 for both] or