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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Wuqu' Kawoq - Maya Health Alliance

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Health Systems, Health, Human Services

Mission: Maya Health Alliance | Wuqu’ Kawoq is a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) in Guatemala and the U.S. since 2007, dedicated to providing comprehensive, high-quality healthcare to the rural indigenous Maya of Guatemala. Our model involves partnering with communities to identify their unique needs, providing integrated primary care and specialty care free of charge, and tailoring services to overcome the systemic barriers to health that our patients face. We stand out from the other NGOs in Guatemala because of our medical expertise, robust program evaluation and quality-improvement, and nuanced understanding of local culture, including care provided in the Maya languages that our patients speak.

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

Community Stories

93 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was fortunate to have been on the Vision Trip for the Mayan Health Alliance. We had time to spend with Anne and Peter, the inspiration and directors for this organization. We spent 4 days doing home site visits, meeting the patients and their families, the care providers and hearing the stories, seeing health assessments being given and education provided.

What is unique about this organization is that they have looked at each barrier and created specific ways to overcome them from creating medical words in the indigenous Mayan language to educating local illiterate women to provide advanced health assessments and communicate with advanced technical devices. The international research and quality improvement projects done in this organization are being shared both with other local health organizations and NGOs but also other international organizations spreading the knowledge gained.

The Mayan Health Alliance Vision Trip has replaced my skepticism and anxieties for the health of our world with hope and a belief that answers can and are being found.

Judy, Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator, Carbondale, Colorado

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the good fortune of volunteering with this organization for seven months from the fall of 2016 through the spring of 2017. As other reviewers have noted, Wuqu' Kawoq is unique among NGOs in its focus on providing healthcare services in patients’ native languages, commitment to strengthening Guatemalan public institutions and other non-profits engaged in similar work, ability to conduct research, and general transparency. What is less readily apparent and what I came to most appreciate about WK are the organization’s continual effort to improve itself as it grows and its investment in local staff. For example in my time at WK, weekly meetings to discuss new cases and research were instituted, and improvements to the electronic medical record were made. Staff members received training on topics ranging from blood pressure control to contraception, and three traveled internationally to present work. Wuqu’ Kawoq is remarkable in that it seeks to be an ever adapting model of excellence in its relationships with patients, communities, staff, and peer institutions alike.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Doing some amazing work with healthcare for indigenous people. Their work is much needed and well-organized.

Rosa8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The most enriching experience so far!. I have around 6 years of work experience for profit organizations and I have never seen employees that passionate as I saw in MYH. They simply enjoy what they do, no matter what sort of adversities of challenge they might face. They know that their work is changing the life of many indigenous people.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I personally know employees at Wuqu' Kowaq and have seen first hand seen their commitment to improving healthcare access to Maya communities in Guatemala. I had the pleasure of serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama with an employee of Wuqu' Kowaq and saw his drive and desire to help impoverished individuals not only in his community but throughout the country. Having an employee like my colleague from Panama speaks volumes of Wuqu' Kowaq. I know for a fact that he brings this same commitment to his work in Guatemala and will continue in the future. Role: Professional with expertise in this field

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow. Where to start. I can say from my experience working at Wuqu' Kawoq and then speaking with other volunteers at NGOs around Guatemala that WK sets itself apart. Through the populations they are focusing on, their high standard of care, their collaboration and integration with communities, their commitment to their staff... todos! Their staff is 95% Guatemalan and well-trained, they commit to their patients for life, and they do not shy away from complex cases (diabetes, cancers, malnutrition, etc.). The work environment is organized and supportive. They focus on research as well and publish their findings so that others can benefit from their knowledge and expertise. Can't say enough good things about this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with Wuqu' Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance and I could not speak more highly of this organization. I have been able to see first hand, through working in the office and going out in the field with their doctors and community health workers, the amazing work they are doing to reach the most marginalized populations in Guatemala. Wuqu' Kawoq health workers always speak to patients in their native language, whether that is Spanish or one of the Mayan languages, and treat their patients with a great deal of compassion and respect. They travel hours into rural areas to provide patients with life saving medical care. I have seen children lifted out of malnutrition through Wuqu' Kawoq's intensive nutrition program, and diabetes patients spared a life with disability through the organization's provision of expensive medications at no cost to the patient. Additionally, Wuqu' Kawoq is continuously conducting research in women's health, nutrition, diabetes, and many other areas to improve their programs and further contribute to global health knowledge and program development.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the incredible care that is provided by the professionals at Wuqu Kawoq to rural Mayan communities in Guatemala. From the experience first hand, I have now become a regular donor and enjoy following the phenomenal work that this organization is doing for the poorest of the poor in Guatemala.

Stephen63

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A lot of great work by this group on the ground in Guatemala. They are dedicated to providing healthcare in the native language of many indigenous peoples in the mountains and rural areas of the country. I went with a group of physicians and students from Cincinnati, and we had great support from the administrative staff and wonderful interpreters. Great people working to fight the lack of adequate healthcare for indigenous peoples in Guatemala.

Family Medicine Physician from Cincinnati

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In a developing world inundated with well-meaning development efforts, it's wonderful to come across a model that is well-informed, adaptive, responsive to feedback and outcomes measurements, culturally humble, and committed to excellence in building capacity, improving health, and promoting last change. I have extensive experience in global health around the world, including long-term work, and am thankful for the model and work of Wuqu' Kawoq.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past winter I observed at Wuqu' Kawoq for college credit. I was blown away by the organization's commitment to their mission. They serve an unbelievable amount of patients with a wide range of effective, quality care. They treat patients as unique individuals, and so their treatments, too, are uniquely individualized. The large majority of the staff at Wuqu' Kawoq is Guatemalan and they continue to hire more locals to help in their mission. Everyone either speaks Kaqchikel or is taking classes, which is one way they promote the revitalization of indigenous culture. Their dedication to transparency is unmatched by any NGO I have experienced. If there were any one NGO that could create true, long-lasting social change, this is it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been a pleasure to work with Wuku' Kawoq through my university. The organization is incredibly well-run, and it is obvious that the staff are deeply invested in and committed to the success of the mission. I saw firsthand some of the work they are doing in rural communities, and patients and families were so grateful, sometimes to the point of tears, for the care they were receiving.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As someone that has acquired experience with nonprofits in the US and abroad, I have been impressed with Wuku' Kawoq. They have been able to successfully negotiate many barriers to health care and operations in Guatemala and provide exceptional service to their clients. The staff knows and reflects those they serve and they are organizationally sound, avoiding the chaotic operations that plague many similar nonprofits. From top to bottom, their staff is dedicated and the families they serve really do benefit and appreciate their service. I hope to continue to work with WK in the future and do what I can to further their efforts.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Wuqu' Kawoq is an organization truly focused on improving the lives of the patients it serves and the communities it operates within. As a board member, I can say from personal experience, that members of the organization consistently think long and hard about how to utilize time and resources to make the most important impacts.

1 Brittany A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Beth157

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.