Maternal, Newborn and Child Health – Canadian Public Engagement


Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education (PIES). 

This project is generously supported by Global Affairs Canada.


Canada and Department of Totonicapán, Guatemala


Community Health, Violence Against Women & Femicide

Project Duration:

Mar, 2016 – 2020

Project Summary


The Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health: Transforming Indigenous Lives (MNCH) project includes a unique public engagement component that is increasing the cooperation between Canada and Guatemala, and is helping to strengthen Canadian understanding of, and support for, improving MNCH. A wide variety of Canadian audiences are directly involved in MNCH outreach activities:

  • Youth in rural and urban communities

  • Members of civil society

  • Student bodies and faculties at universities and schools

  • Canadian maternal and child care professionals and experts

  • General public

These groups are not only coming together to learn about the challenging maternal and child health situation in Totonicapán, but also to transform the lives of thousands of Indigenous Maya K’iche’ women, children and families in Guatemala.

Central to the MNCH initiative are reciprocal knowledge exchanges between Canadian and Guatemalan practitioners and advocates, where practices and experiences are shared through Canada-Guatemala country visits. Annually, numerous presentations, round-tables and awareness- raising events are organized by Horizons to mark project developments and milestones. Further, we have a dedicated youth engagement program that helps young Canadians learn about the importance of MNCH globally.

If you would like to transform the lives of communities in Guatemala through MNCH, get in touch with us [link]!


Key Achievements

  • Over 1,300 Canadians have learned about MNCH challenges in Totonicapán through outreach activities, including knowledge exchanges to Canada.

  • More than 230 Canadian health practitioners and experts have shared knowledge and experiences with Guatemalan counterparts.

  • Approximately 290 youth, between the ages pf 12-24, have participated in MNCH educational and aware-raising activities.

  • 10 Canadians have participated in MNCH knowledge exchanges: one family doctor, three nurses and six midwives.

  • 6 Guatemalans have participated in MNCH knowledge exchanges: three traditional Indigenous Maya K’iche’ midwives, two doctors and one comprehensive sexual education coordinator.


In Their Own Words

Joanne Gillies, Registered Midwife working in Victoria, British Columbia. Former locum midwife in Inuit communities in Nunavut, and first knowledge exchange participant.

“I have had the opportunity to witness or be involved in many NGO projects in several countries over the past 20 years. I can honestly say that the MNCH project with Horizons of Friendship is the most impressive, people-centred development initiative I have encountered to date.

Horizons’ partnership with PIES, the ethics behind implementation and the scope of its outcomes – including our exchange – makes this a project, and organization, I can wholeheartedly endorse!”