Wuqu' Kawoq - Maya Health Alliance
Rating: 5 stars 67 67 reviews 5,141
Health, Human Services
PO Box 91 % Russell Rohloff 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,
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
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Reviews for Wuqu' Kawoq - Maya Health Alliance
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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As an intern with Wuqu' Kawoq over the past few weeks, I am left most impressed by the level of dedication and compassion that the team members have for their patients. With high expectations for every role, whether someone was responsible for leading group classes, providing services for patients, or following up with patient home visits, I saw competence in both the services provided, as well as the approach that they were done. At the same time, this organization establishes relationships with other organizations and community leaders in every place they put their roots. As a medical student, I have learned so much on how to not allow yourself to compromise on the quality of services provided in a low-resource area. Neither heart nor skills were sacrificed.
I have served on the board for two years and am deeply impressed by how Wuqu Kawoq has clearly identified its mission, and delivers help that targets fundamental causes of health problems for the communities it serves. Donations are incredibly well used by this group, with its low overhead and smart approach to building healthier communities.
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I interned with Wuqu' Kawoq over the summer and had a fantastic experience. From start to finish, Wuqu' Kawoq was extremely organized and every single staff member touched my heart. They are an extremely dedicated, compassionate group of people. I admire the work that they do in Guatemala and would recommend this organization to anyone.
I have been a Board member for Wuqu'Kawoq for several years and wish to say how incredibly and continually impressed I am with this organization, its leadership, and the work it does. There are literally thousands of NGOs in Guatemala, many of them focusing on health, but only a small handful address important health issues in ways that are sustainable and sensitive to the culture and language of the people they serve. Wuqu'Kawoq is one of these. It take anthropology and linguistics as serious as it does medicine. Let me give you just one example. One big problem in rural Guatemala is diabetes. A bigger problem than access to meds, however, is education: most people do not really understand the disease, what it is or how medication and diet can help them combat its effects. These things can be explained in Spanish, sure, but most rural Guatemalans do not speak Spanish, they speak a Mayan language. Wuqu'Kawoq staff speak these languages; moreover, to address the problem, they consulted with local Mayan linguists. In the end, they actually created a new word for 'diabetes' in the Kaqchikel language to replace the Spanish borrowing that was in use. The word they used translates directly to 'sweet blood.' This word has now allowed them to explain clearly to diabetics what is wrong with them (they have 'sweet blood') and how to make their blood 'less sweet!' People who have had the disease for years are finally understanding it! And that is allowing them to address their own illness! There are dozens of other examples of WK's amazing and unique effectiveness in addressing such issues (including many women's health issues, child malnutrition, complex surgical procedures, etc.). It is why I have given thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of my time over the years to this organization and will continue to do so as long as I am able.
I am a current research intern with Wuqu' Kawoq in Tecpan, Guatemala where I am completing my thesis research. The longer I work for WK, the more proud I become of this organization. In fact, I am always so glad when someone asks me about WK because it gives me the opportunity to share about their wonderful work, dedication to ethical practices, and heart to reach those who often slip through the cracks.
Reasons why I am impressed with WK:
1. Dedication to understanding the communities in which we work: Interns are asked to study history, literature, and a Mayan language. In my experience, this context has allowed me to understand the why the communities face the problems that they face and by learning Kaqchikel, I have shown the community that I am here to learn, not to bulldoze my way into the community. We also are able to communicate with patients who may speak "trade Spanish" but may not be able to communicate about a complex health issue. As I have talked with other NGOs in Guatemala, I have learned that this type of in-depth preparation is rare and I have seen that it limits the effectiveness of their intervention programs.
2. Exceptional staff: I am proud that the vast majority of WK staff are Guatemalans who speak indigenous languages and that all staff members are exceptional teachers and team-players. I have been warmly welcomed into the WK family where I continue to learn every day from my co-workers. My experience with WK has allowed me to be independent, but also well supported by the staff.
3. Collaboration with communities and other NGOs: WK actively engages community leaders and women's groups as well as seeks partnerships with other NGOs so that we can be the most effective as possible and not duplicate services. In a country with over 15,000 NGOs (and unfortunately many are poor managed), WK takes the most challenging cases that other NGOs are not equipped to provide services.
I am thrilled that I was referred to WK by a professor and I plan to continue to work with WK.
I am a family physician practicing in rural Vermont. After 30 plus years, I wanted to give my time to a third world country that needed help. My wife, who is a neonatal resuscitation instructor as part of her job as an Obstetrical nurse, accompanied me for a week with Peter Rohloff, MD, PhD and his fabulous team in Guatemala. We worked hard giving instruction to the midwives and seeing patients in Diabetic, Pediatric and general Medical care clinics. After the week was over and we had a chance to breath, we both could not believe how wonderful Wuqu Kawoq is with it's group of caring and dedicated professionals. What separated them from many NGO's is continuity. I was warned that some NGO's will just see patients and leave for 6 months. Wuqu Kawoq had the organization on the ground to be there on a daily basis for the folks that used them for their medical care. In addition, they were involved with nutrition and clean water. The Noble peace prizes were just announced and the two recipients deserved it. But, I would not be surprised if Wuqu Kawoq gets it some day.
I interned with Wuqu’ Kawoq over this past summer of 2014. I cannot speak more highly of this wonderful organisation. I was thoroughly impressed by the work Wuqu’ Kawoq is doing in the communities. As this was my first time volunteering in Guatemala, I was especially impressed by the hard working, knowledgeable and caring staff, who literally work around the clock, to ensure their communities are getting the health care services they need in a respectful and culturally-sensitive manner. I was also highly impressed by how hard Wuqu’ Kawoq is working at supporting and creating relationships between communities, other organisations, local and state government to ensure the needs of the communities they serve. As someone who wants to work on global health care issues in the future I have to say this was an amazing introduction to the field! I hope to work again with this wonderful organisation!
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As a Board Member for the past 2 years, I continue to be extremely impressed with Wuqu' Kawoq ,the dedication & skill of our entire team in Guatemala and their ability to make an extraordinarily positive impact on both individuals and the entire communities within which we're fortunate to work. My wife and I have prioritized our own giving by making a significant multi-year financial commitment to Wuqu' Kawoq. We believe deeply in the organization and its ability to make a sustainable positive contribution to the well-being of so many Guatemalan women, children and men. We're most touched by the respect with which our staff treat community members to ensure that they receive the excellent care that they deserve, delivered in their maternal language (Maya languages). I'm looking forward to accomplishing even more in the years ahead, especially with the help of our committed Donors.
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I volunteered with Wuqu' Kawoq as a dental hygienist in January of 2014. A local pediatrician asked me to get involved offering oral health education, applying fluoride varnish and cleanings for children. I was thoroughly impressed with WK and I am eager to be involved in the future. This organization has an amazing variety of health care and nutritional services they offer for free. They care about the people they are serving as evidenced by their relationships. Their record-keeping and continued re-care is very important. Six months after we were there the midwives were applying fluoride varnish for the second time. I was delighted to see the level of commitment to oral health and their determination to see improvements. It was an honor to be involved with such a great organization.