MNCH: Apply Now to the Third Canada-Guatemala Knowledge Exchange!

Horizons of Friendship is thrilled to announce online applications for the third MNCH knowledge exchange from Canada to Guatemala, taking place February 23 – March 4 2019, are now open!

 A knowledge exchange workshop involving Canadian participants, traditional Indigenous Maya midwives, Guatemalan doctors, and Guatemalan Ministry of Health representatives

A knowledge exchange workshop involving Canadian participants, traditional Indigenous Maya midwives, Guatemalan doctors, and Guatemalan Ministry of Health representatives

The 10-day exchange is part of Horizons’ four-year Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) project, which is funded in large part by the Government of Canada and is being implemented by our local partner, PIES (the Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education), in support of and collaboration with Guatemalan Ministry of Health programming. The initiative is strengthening the use and delivery of MNCH services for thousands of Indigenous women, children and families throughout the department of Totonicapán, Guatemala.

By exchanging knowledge and experiences directly with  Guatemalans involved in the project, including traditional Indigenous Maya K’iche’ midwives, health care providers, educators, experts and Guatemalan Ministry of Health representatives, participating Canadians will deepen their understanding of the importance of MNCH at a global level and enable cooperation between Canada and Guatemala to improve MNCH.

12 participants will form a team that will not only learn about the challenging MNCH realities in Totonicapán, a department with a predominantly Indigenous Maya K’iche’ population that faces some of the most alarming maternal and child health indicators in the country. The team will also witness firsthand how this locally-led, culturally-pertinent project is helping overcome these challenges and transforming lives, having the opportunity to participate in the following tentative activities:

Tentative Activities

  • Introduction to the MNCH project by PIES's Executive Director and Project Coordinator
  • Panels with traditional Indigenous Maya K'iche' midwives, male Indigenous Maya community leaders and Guatemalan Ministry of Health representatives on maternal and child health realities in Totonicapán
  • Session led by 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 health care providers
  • Accompanying traditional Indigenous Maya K'iche' midwives and PIES health educators in conducting patient home visits and an MNCH best practices promotion campaign in remote Indigenous Maya K'iche' communities
  • Visit to the Totonicapán National Hospital, observing medical attention and holding a knowledge-exchange workshop with health practitioners on relevant MNCH concepts
  • Workshop facilitated by PIES with Indigenous Maya K'iche' children and adolescents participating in a culturally-pertinent sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) campaign
  • Presentations on Guatemala's health system challenges 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 towns in Guatemala's Western Highlands
 The team will accompany PIES health educators and health staff as they carry out the project's MNCH best practices promotion campaign.

The team will accompany PIES health educators and health staff as they carry out the project's MNCH best practices promotion campaign.

Horizons will ask selected participants to meet 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 awareness among Canadians of the importance of improving MNCH, and how the project is contributing to strengthening MNCH in Totonicapán, Guatemala.

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, OB/GYN professionals, pediatricians, midwives, nurses, dietitians, community health workers, public health personnel, researchers, community organizers 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 Indigenous Peoples
  • Eagerness to learn about MNCH from a social justice perspective
  • Openness to learn about, and share, Indigenous approaches to health
  • Commitment to continuously reach out to established and new networks to champion the project and MNCH in Totonicapán
  • Support for gender equality within and outside professional practice
  • Moderate fluency in Spanish

You can access the online application form by clicking HERE. Applications will be available until midnight, September 21st.

Horizons’ Selection Committee (consisting of the Executive Director, Program Manager and Community Outreach Coordinator) will work to select a diverse, multidisciplinary team. All applications are welcome, including those from underrepresented or Indigenous peoples. All applicants will be notified of results on October 1st.

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:

Included

  • 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 Scorza at 1-888-729-9928 / 905-372-5483 [ext 24 for both] or rscorza@horizons.ca.

 Former Canadian exchange participants in Panajachel, a town on the shores of Lake Atitlán

Former Canadian exchange participants in Panajachel, a town on the shores of Lake Atitlán

Raul ScorzaMNCH