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A community in Guatemala comes together

to bring clean water to hundreds of families

Small Grants Funding for Community-Designed Projects


In Latin America, where maternal mortality is 17 times higher than in the U.S. and approximately 370,000 children die each year from preventable conditions such as diarrhea and respiratory infections, impoverished and indigenous people face severe health issues every day.


Many communities understand that poor health is often caused or exacerbated by poverty, racism, environmental degradation, and other factors, and they have both the motivation and knowledge to devise their own integrated solutions to child and maternal health problems. What they lack is financial support or technical expertise. Our Small Grants program meets this need by providing funding for well-conceived, sustainable, grassroots health projects.


Our program goes beyond grantmaking. We are committed to building long-term partnerships with communities committed to quality child and maternal health, who recognize the essential link between individual health and community well-being and prosperity, and have the capacity to be agents of change. Through regular communication and site visits, we deepen our knowledge of the history, challenges, and successes of each community. Our goal is to help grassroots leaders expand their skills, generate new ideas, and turn the best ideas into future projects.

Projects Helping Communities Help Themselves

Guatemalan community members work with local authorities to install water chlorinators for rural villages through GPA support

Project: Water Disinfection at the Source in 50 Communities

Grantee : Municipality of San Martín Jilotepeque, Guatemala

Impacting: 4,900 families or approximately 25,000 individuals


A collaboration between the Municipality of San Martín Jilotepeque, the Ministry of Health, GPA, the local health center and the communities it serves. Most of the communities in San Martín Jilotepeque lack access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation, leading to preventable illnesses and deaths caused by diarrhea and waterborne diseases, among other things. 30% of the population must obtain water from handmade wells, most of which have contaminated water. In response, 50 water chlorinators will be installed at the water source of 50 communities. Plumbers and newly formed water committees from each community will be trained on operating and maintaining the chlorinators, and building awareness among the communities on safe water usage.

Young health workers learn about reproductive health

Project: Working with Teenagers and Young Parents on Reproductive Health

Grantee: Tzome Ixuk (Organized Women), Las Margaritas, Chiapas

Impacting: 50 adolescents and young parents


Ixuk Tzome is an organization created and run by Tojolabal indigenous women and men in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, one of the municipalities with the lowest ranking in the Human Development Index, categorized as “highly marginalized” by the National Population Council (CONAPO). The area experiences a high rate of teenage marriage and pregnancy and miscarriages. Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than older women. The project trained a group of young advocates, both male and female, on sexual and reproductive rights, STDs, family planning, nutrition and maternal health, who are now bringing this information to the young people in their own respective communities.

A rain catchment system at a community clinic provides a clean water source for the community it serves

Project: Installation of a Rain Water Catchment System for a Local Health Clinic

Grantee: Camino de Viento, Zitín, Chiapas, Mexico

Impacting: 650 patients from 15 communities


Camino de Viento is a cooperative formed by 13 health promoters and 2 midwives, and serves the highly marginalized Zapatista communities in the highlands region of Huixtan, Chiapas, made up of both Tseltal and Tzotsil-speaking ethnic groups. The organization runs a community clinic and serves communities that otherwise would lack access to quality health care and who suffer inordinately from preventable diseases such as intestinal disease, respiratory infections and birth complications. El Zitín is a the poorest area in the municipality  and has no potable water network and so rely on local wells with no filtration system. A rain-catchment system was installed at the clinic so it could work within more sanitary conditions, and rely on a clean water source. The clinic offers basic health, prenatal health, pediatrics and dental health to the surrounding communities. Volunteers from the communities helped in the construction of the system.

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