San Bartolo

San Bartolo's Community News

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on World Vision operations

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Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

The San Bartolo community is located in the highlands of Northern Guatemala. Physically, it is a rugged place marked by mountains, canyons, and deep gullies. In this remote area, settlements and farms are still connected by roads, ruts, and trails. 80% of families are K'iche', descendants of the Mayan empire, and most families still live in adobe houses with mud floors.

San Bartolo is a poor community, where 77% of families do not earn enough to meet their basic needs. In the town centres, people work in small trades. In the rural areas, families survive on subsistence agriculture, or off of the forests, extracting carbon, resin, or wood for fuel and furniture making. The needs of this growing population are taking their toll on the environment. Unrestricted clearing of forested areas has led to widespread erosion, greater risks of mud slides in this hilly terrain, and lower crop yields.
To ensure children can access and benefit from quality education, World Vision will assist the community to:
  • Helping parents understand the importance of education for their children's future, and the future of the community as a whole.
  • Establish early education centres in the communities, so children can get the stimuli and instruction they need to thrive.
  • Train teachers and guide mothers to operate the centres.
  • Start tutoring programs in primary school subjects to help students who are struggling academically.
  • Establish and equip play and learn corners in schools to better engage and motivate children.
  • Train children and youth in leadership, rights, and responsibilities, and help them to participate in community decision-making.

Health Care
With the partnership of Canadian sponsors and the community, World Vision will work to:
  • Select and train guide mothers in nutrition, hygiene, and other preventive care practices.
  • Work alongside guide mothers to help them pass on their knowledge to other mothers.
  • Help families establish family gardens and raise small animals so children can have a healthy diet.
  • Support pregnant mothers to get pre- and postnatal care, as well as improve their diet.
  • Help mothers see the importance of protecting children's health by breastfeeding, getting children immunized and dewormed, and taking micronutrient supplements.
  • Train health volunteers and mothers in the management of respiratory and diarrheal illnesses.

Economic Development
To ensure parents in San Bartolo can provide for their families, World Vision will partner with the community to:
  • Train families to manage their productive units.
  • Help improve families access to seed funding to start small businesses or improve existing production.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to small business owners.
  • Provide support and training to diversify production based on market needs, commercialize production, find new markets, and improve distribution networks.
  • Improve irrigation systems to increase agricultural production.
  • Organize and train community-based organizations to diagnose problems, formulate, implement, and monitor projects, as well as manage resources to improve the lives of children and families.
  • Train and empower community members and leaders to advocate for support for their community from the government, and participate in decision-making opportunities.
Child Protection
  • 100 parents better understand the harmful impact of physical discipline on children, so more boys and girls can be raised in safer and happier homes.
  • 125 parents attended training to learn how to discipline their children without physical violence, so more girls and boys are safer from abuse.
  • 36 women and men from community partner groups took part in training, learning how to work more effectively to improve the well-being of children.
  • 104 people attended advocacy meetings, enabling them to become agents of change and monitor progress in their community.
  • 1268 children participated in reading comprehension activities
  • 29 teachers completed training on teaching children literacy and numeracy skills, improving how they teach students to read, write and use numbers.
  • 10 schools have been supported with new books or updated training for teachers, giving students more resources to help them learn.
  • 50 parents and caregivers attended training on the importance of literacy for children, increasing the support girls and boys have in learning to read.
  • 5 new savings groups were formed, helping mothers and fathers work toward greater financial stability and meet their children's needs.
  • 119 families participated in self-help groups
Health and Nutrition
  • 5 practices implemented and improved in the participating schools.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  • 251 sex-specific toilet stalls are in use at schools and education centres, giving students better sanitation and privacy.
  • 210 people participated in hygiene training, campaigns or committees, learning habits to stay healthy and clean, such as washing their hands.
  • 630 students have hand-washing facilities and soap at their school, helping to keep them healthy and creating a cleaner learning environment.
  • 1214 more people now have a new water source within 30 minutes of their home, providing families with year-round access to clean drinking water.
  • 10 key influencers working with the Citizen Voice and Action working group to collectively address local and higher levels of government
  • 3 communities were motivated and equipped for advocacy work on child protection and safety issues, so more children can grow up in a safe community.

*Results achieved from October 2018 to September 2019

Explore San Bartolo

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

The needs in San Bartolo

Far too many children do not get a basic education, and the challenge begins in the earliest years. Few parents know how to stimulate their children to help them develop their physical, mental, and social skills. Some parents can't see the value of early education. In fact, less than 25% of children attend pre-school.

Due to these factors, children begin school without the preparation they need to start formal learning. They struggle academically, and grade repetition is common. 25% of primary school age children are not registered in school.

As children grow older, it becomes even easier to abandon their studies. Some families can't afford to send their children to school, while others do not see the value of education or are unable to give their children the support they need to stay enrolled. For some families to survive, it is necessary for the children to work, often in agriculture or as maids and street peddlers in the town.

There is little hope for these children's future. Without a primary education, boys can expect to be labourers, and girls will become domestic workers. Even for the few that complete middle school, there are few job opportunities. Out of options and out of work, youth spend much of their time on the streets.

Health Care
Children in this community suffer from recurrent bouts of diarrhea and respiratory infections. 98% of the water supplied to San Bartolo is contaminated. There is little sanitation infrastructure, and families lack knowledge about hygiene and safe water and food handling that could reduce the prevalence of diarrheal diseases. Houses that are often damp and do not offer enough protection from the elements, along with smoke inhalation from cooking indoors on an open coal fire, also leave children with respiratory diseases.

Two out of three children are chronically malnourished. For many, the deficiency begins before birth. Pregnant women seldom have enough food, and most do not get prenatal care. A malnourished mother gives birth to a malnourished child. Families do not earn enough to provide food year round. Many do not know the importance of balanced nutrition to the health and development of their children. Farmers do not grow enough, and their crops are traditional grains and beans, which make a diet lacking the nutrients of fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

Economic Development
Most families in San Bartolo simply do not earn enough to provide for their children. Traditional crops are yielding less and less as erosion and global warming continues to impact the environment. Farmers do not have knowledge of agricultural practices that can improve production. For poor families in the town areas, the story is no different. They earn little doing unskilled work, and there are few opportunities for better jobs. Unemployment and underemployment are rampant in both areas.
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Life cycle of a sponsorship community

San Bartolo,  is in Phase 1

PHASE 1: Building the foundation

With local leaders, we assess the community's needs and resources, plan projects to provide long term solutions. Sponsorship and development opportunities begin.