WUQU KAWOQ SA

Rating: 5 stars   66 reviews

Issues: Health, Human Services

Location: PO Box 91 % Russell Rohloff Bethel VT 05032 USA

Mission: 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.
Results: 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: 15,000
Geographic areas served: Guatemala
Programs: Child Nutrition Clean Water Diabetes Language Revitalization Rural Health Services Women's Health Prenatal Care Publishing
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 20-8741625
617-447-3034
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Volunteering with Wuqu' Kawoq was my second international health-related experience, and it exceeded my expectations in every way. I witnessed their commitment to improving patient lives through community capacity building and services in the first language of their patients. The importance of their holistic cultural and linguistic approach to health cannot be understated. My summer spent in rural Guatemala inspired me to make global health a central pillar of my career and I aspire to do so while working with the committed and brilliant staff of Wuqu' Kawoq.

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Rating: 5 stars  


I am one of the doctors that works with Wuqu' Kawoq

Since medical school I have worked with many different health NGOs in developing countries including Ghana, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Chile and was been repeatedly disillusioned by global health work until I found Wuqu' Kawoq. The time I spend working with the organization has been so rewarding because there are the resources and infrastructure to provide high-quality care to my patients (not just "better than the medical care they would have received').

The term "community driven" is often used in global health but the work of Wuqu' Kawoq is truly determined by needs expressed by the communities with which we partner. I have also never encountered a group of people as dedicated and hard working as the staff of Wuqu' Kawoq.

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Rating: 5 stars  

As a Guatemalan with healthcare experience in rural settings, I could say there is no other NGO in Guatemala that provides high quality health care in Maya languages. Outstanding organization!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Initially, I wanted to volunteer with Wuqu’ Kawoq – Maya Health Alliance because I desired more experience working in global health, and I had heard great things about the organization at my medical school. Before collaborating with Wuqu’ Kawoq, I’d been working on various health projects in Latin America for about 5 years. However, I hadn’t made a long-term commitment. My amazing volunteer experience -- especially the forging of bonds with staff, patients, and community members -- has compelled me to work with Wuqu’ Kawoq beyond my original year-long commitment, and I plan to continue collaborating with WK on nutrition and chronic disease projects over the coming years.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I've had the privilege of volunteering for Wuku' Kawoq: Maya Health Alliance for the past four years, and I keep coming back for a reason...they know what they're doing.

WK's unique blend of in-depth, mixed-methods ethnographic research and their policy of providing excellent health care free of charge to those who need it most has made, and continues to make, huge differences in the lives of people who are still recovering from the structural effects of a decades-long genocide and centuries of structural racism.

Their approach is unique in the area, and uniquely effective. I've seen the data myself (I'm a PhD student in applied anthropology); their success in ameliorating childhood malnutrition alone is well worth a five-star rating, and they do so much more than that. In my time with them, I have seen them successfully treat diabetics, amputees, ophthalmology cases, cleft palates, congenital heart defects, various cancers...the list goes on and on. In addition to arranging and providing free health care to those who truly can't afford it, WK acts as patient advocates in a world where the non-Spanish speaking indigenous individual is all too often swept aside.

I can't say enough about the beauty of their politics, their ethnography, their nutritional interventions, their hands-on care, and their research. As far as I've seen in the past four years, they've excelled in everything they've attempted.

If you're truly interested in making a difference, if you want assurance that your money goes directly toward changing someone's life for the better, in the most efficient way possible, without being re-routed through administrative chains and lost somewhere in the process (which is the case with so many NGOs in the area) you could not choose a better NGO than WK.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Wuqu' Kawoq, in my experience, stands alone among Guatemalan NGOs in its commitment to both linguistic and cultural competence in every single one of its endeavors. Every project that I have seen them take on, and every individual within the organization, is consistently striving for excellence...a rarity in a world where the catchphrase of many non-profits is "most anything is better than nothing". Spanish is not the first language for many Guatemalans-- this, combined with a pluralistic medical system and often extreme structural constraints can make decent health care an impossibility for a large part of the population. WK's commitment to providing excellent care in Spanish, Kaqchikel, and Quiche, as well as their long-term ties to many communities, and their commitment to solid ethnographic research can-- and has-- meant the difference between life and death for many individuals, and given the organization's trajectory, will mean life and better health for many more. I am currently training as a medical anthropologist, and my first introduction to WK was three years ago, during preliminary dissertation fieldwork and language training. Since then, I have only grown more impressed with the organization and with the individuals involved, and I plan on continuing to work with WK throughout my graduate studies. Wuqu' Kawoq is a blend of pragmatic healthcare and applied anthropology that I had only once hoped existed...and I feel privileged to be a volunteer for such an excellent and unparalleled institution.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I was lucky enough to be able to work with Dr. Rohloff and the clinic staff for a short time last summer, and I came away very impressed with WK's personnel, staff, and mission. Not only are they providing a much needed service, but they are doing it in ways that are culturally and linguistically competent- something that adds relevance to their work, and with it, efficacy. The will to create change is not unique among NPOs, but their ability to do so can often be hampered by their ignorance of the cultural, structural, and material constraints that surround their area of interest. This is not the case with Wuqu' Kawoq, and I doubt it ever will be, given its current trajectory. Two thumbs way up.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I was inspired enough by the work down by WK that I added Dr. Rohloff to my dissertation committee (thanks!) and am planning my PhD project around projects that I hope will benefit the clinic network.

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

n't.

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