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Wuqu' Kawoq - Maya Health Alliance

Rating: 5 stars   79 reviews 5,320

Nonprofit Issues:

Health, Human Services


PO Box 91 Bethel VT 05032 USA


The NGO Wuqu' Kawoq is committed to facilitating excellence and linguistic competence in medical care delivery in the indigenous highlands of Guatemala. There are currently few medical programs in Guatemala that provide care or educational in indigenous Mayan languages. We believe that the provision of first language services is the first step toward excellent care. We cultivate partnerships and fund targeted projects at the intersection of indigenous language rights, literacy, and the provision of medical care. Such projects include: primary care systems development, support for indigenous community health workers, dissemination of written medical resources in indigenous Mayan languages, and literacy and continuing-education training for community health practioners.


We have especially developed expertise in the areas of child malnutrition treatment and prevention, maternal-child health programs, diabetes and chronic disease management,

Target demographics:

Kaqchikel and K'ichee' speaking indigenous communities in Guatemala.

Direct beneficiaries per year:


Geographic areas served:



Child Nutrition Clean Water Diabetes Language Revitalization Rural Health Services Women's Health Prenatal Care Publishing

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Wuqu' Kawoq - Maya Health Alliance

Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

2 people found this review helpful

I am a repeat donor to Wuqu' Kawoq, and I could not be happier with the organization. Over the past few years I have seen first-hand how effective their programs are. Unlike some other Guatemalan NGOs, Wuqu' Kawoq is widely respected in the communities they serve, and for good reason: they offer high quality medical services in a linguistically and culturally responsible way.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Wuqu' Kawoq is an authentic, dedicated and ethical organization. They are a passionate and driven group people whose roles range from physicians, nurses, and nutritionists to anthropologists, teachers and community health workers who are all working together towards a common goal. I had the privilege of spending nearly two weeks in Tecpan, Guatemala, working closely with Wuqu' Kawoq as a member of their first large group of medical professionals. Immediately upon arrival, I knew that this was the organization we had been looking for in a partner. It was clear that this organization was different from others I had worked with in the past, in so many ways.

The leadership was clear from the start about their values and intentions: first, to provide high quality health care to those who need it most. Second, to provide care that is culturally relevant and provided in each patient's own native language. Finally, to create sustainable change that meets the needs of the whole person and whole community. These values were upheld throughout our entire trip. Throughout our stay we went out to each day to different communities in which Wuqu' Kawoq is already trusted and well respected. The fact that patients we had never met were willing to open to us and share very personal information spoke to the trust that is already established in these communities. We went with community health workers who live and thrive in the very communities in which they serve- which reinforced the importance of autonomy and independence that are so often lacking in the field of global health. We were not pressured to focus on the numbers and see as many patients as possible, but rather to provide the highest quality of care possible. Each patient was provided care in their preferred language, as we worked alongside some very passionate and dedicated interpreters. Not only did we feel that we were providing care for the short term, we truly felt these patients would be well-cared for in the long-term. Wuqu' Kawoq has a system in place for follow-up care, specialty referrals, and well-rounded health education and nutrition programs- and I cannot stress enough how significant this is.

I was truly blown away by the quality of our experience and by how well cared for we were during our stay. We were kept safe, and our hosts worked extremely hard to work alongside us for long hours each day to provide our patients with excellent care. They taught me so much about Guatemalan culture, and about the provision of ethical, culturally relative health care in an under-resourced setting. I hope that we can maintain a strong relationship and partnership with Wuqu' Kawoq for years to come!

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Rating: 5 stars  

My students and I recently were involved on a trip with this organization. They could not have been more open and sincere about their mission to help indigenous people gain access to quality healthcare. The community health workers affiliated with Wuqu Kawoq were amazing in their compassion and eagerness to learn. Everyone we encountered could not have been more helpful in the information, education and insight they provided.

I've been on similar trips for the past 13 years with different NGOs in various countries. This is one of my best experiences in terms of mission, organization and safety. It is the overall best in the desire to provide quality continuity of care to those who are often hesitant to seek healthcare due to difficult but understandable reasons. This was striking to me in contrast to some groups who focus on quantity of people seen over either quality or continuity.

Anne's expertise in evaluating NGOs in the past is a huge asset, as is her passion and dedication. It was a pleasure.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had the opportunity to work with Wuqu' Kawoq through my university. I traveled to their different village clinic sites and worked with their Community Healthcare Workers to provide medical/pharmacy care. They are caring, informative, and genuinely invested in the well-being of the Indigenous Mayan people. They have a solid, sustainable plan that focuses on building trust and bringing quality healthcare to people who would not receive care otherwise. It was a privilege to work with them. I hope I have the opportunity to go back and work with them again.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a pharmacy student who recently worked with Wuqu'Kawoq in Guatemala for 12 days with a group of medical residents and pharmacy students. During our time there, we worked with the doctors, nurses, translators, and other members of the NGO on the ground to provide medical care to about 250 patients in different villages around the country. We also identified difficult or complex cases for the organization to follow up with after our visit was over. I was extremely impressed with how much trust and respect the native Guatemalans had for the members of Wuqu'Kawoq; this is a relationship they have built over almost 10 years of working with members of the community towards sustainable and comprehensive healthcare. I feel that, in combination with this organization's efforts, during our trip we were able to make a real difference in the lives of the Guatemalan people.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteered with a medical brigade from the University of Cincinnati. Wuku Kawoq is a genuine organization that does what it says. Furthermore, they took great care of us while we there. Most of the meals were delicious, and we were always escorted to where we were going. Kate even had our laundry done while we there. This org definitely goes above and beyond for their community and those that help them serve it!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing! Everything was great!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Wuqu' Kawoq has created a service like no other to the Mayan community within Guatemala. I experienced this first hand when I volunteered as a RN/Nurse Practitioner Student this past October (2015). I was part of their first medical brigade not by lack of coordination or ability of this 8 year old organization but because they have waited until it was a thoughtful gesture. It seemed as though they wanted to establish a repoire (of which they were very successful) before they plopped American healthcare into the mix of things.

Their work with the "prometoras", or community workers, is outstanding. They have truly committed time and effort into training people of the community to care and manage for their own. While I was there, I had the opportunity to work with many of these heart warming people and educate them on health promotion topics. It is apparent how well this shows the worth and value that Wuku' Kawoq instills into the people it wants to help.

The greatest work of this organization comes in the form of language. They have incredibly skilled translators that speak the indigenous Mayan languages as well as Spanish and English. This delivers the care in the most appropriate and compassionate way possible. Those who only speak the indigenous languages now have access to a form of healthcare that was before unattainable due to a language barrier.

Another impressive feature of Wuqu' Kawoq is there persistence with having an electronic medical record for their patients. This means that the patient has documented care, a history of visits that can be refereed to by providers, and creates efficiency for the patient. Again, their dedication to long term care for this community resounds within their actions.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had the great opportunity to work with Wuqu' Kawoq for two weeks in Tecpan, Guatemala. I spent that time working in rural villages with Wuqu' Kawoq's "Saving Brains" program, which provides nutritional assistance to impoverished children in order to support their proper mental and physical development. I also worked to improve Wuqu' Kawoq's internal tech systems, to better support the organization's growing operational demands. Every day, I was newly impressed with the dedication and passion of the team there, who manage to bring much-needed medical support to so many people in a rural setting and that is quite operationally complex. I have worked with or observed a number of international NGOs in my life, but have not seen one as effective in bringing medical support to those most in need as Wuqu' Kawoq.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I committed to work as the Complex Care Coordinator for 1 year with Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu' Kawoq starting in April 2015 .

Before beginning with MHA | WK, I thought I understood the limits of what medical organizations are capable of achieving in a rural setting in Guatemala. I had worked with several NGOs within Guatemala previously, and believed that some barriers to accessing healthcare are too extensive to overcome.

How wrong I was. Nothing could have prepared me for how impressed I am and how proud I feel to be a part of the MHA | WK team. This organization goes above and beyond in terms of patient care. They GO to their patients - via (a combo of) car, bus, boat, on foot - sometimes taking hours just to arrive at one patient's house. Why? Because they understand that the hardest patients to get to, are those most in need of care. Why else? Because in these communities there is no way to understand the fundamental reasons behind a patient's condition and be able to effectively treat that condition, without seeing where and how the patient lives. MHA strives to deliver quality care that exceeds not just Guatemalan standards, but US standards. They work within and alongside the government healthcare system to fill the holes that usually block the indigenous population from receiving care. To this NGO, patient care is more than just a consult and follow-up at a clinic. It is about facilitating trust and partnership with the patients. Cultural sensitivity is an integrated peice of their model, and all employees - both local and extranjero - learn to speak the indigenous Mayan language of the patients. MHA strives to build capacity and empower the local communities to take control of their health and of their lives.

Furthermore, they publish! MHA | WK has run many empirical investigations and has shared their results with the global health community. Even though their focus is in Guatemala, they understand that conditions and diseases present here are examples of larger global health issues.

There has never been a dull moment in my 6 months of working for this NGO. I recommend anyone and everyone to take a look at this organization, because they are truly the most cutting-edge NGO offering healthcare services in Guatemala.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Wuqu' Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance is truly unique in the NGO field. The focus on patient rights and patient dignity, especially with respect to culture, is second-to-none. I have never seen a team so dedicated to working within local indigenous languages and bringing healthcare to those that truly need it most.
In my time as a volunteer, I have gotten to see how hardworking all the staff at WK is. The on-the-ground team comes to work with passion and enthusiasm every day, traveling to remote communities--and often walking hours in the mountains--to bring health care directly to our patients. What is truly amazing is the accompaniment that WK emphasizes. We stay with our patients from beginning to end, helping them navigate confusing hospitals and long trips to receive care, always having an open phone line for communication, and taking those extra minutes to understand a patient's life.
Working with Wuqu' Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance is an incredible opportunity to see global health work at its best!

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