The Colectivo represents a group of organizations committed to securing and protecting the rights of Maya girls and women through responsive and community-based interventions. Our public education campaign will use radio and internet to reach rural homes with programming on topics adversely impacted by COVID-19 such as reproductive health, domestic violence prevention/treatment, nutrition/health, and the value of girls’ education. 

COVID-19 has an unparalleled ability to exploit a country’s weaknesses. Unfortunately, Guatemala has a plethora of “gaps” and inequities that COVID-19 will further expose and exacerbate. We know that when Maya communities receive reliable information on the coronavirus in their own languages that takes into account their unique rural context, they have the tools they need to take realistic steps against the propagation of this disease and put less strain on an already fragile medical system.

The Project:
The Colectivo initiative features several overlapping phases, all of which center on using mass media to broadcast quality information into the hardest-to-reach communities. Radio will be the primary medium used because it has the widest reach; given the high levels of illiteracy and limited access to technology, radio will reach the most vulnerable and remote populations. The geographic focus of this initiative includes the Kachiquel-speaking areas within the departments of Sololá and Chimaltenango in Guatemala.

Phase 1: Public Service Announcements
Topics include: how to shop at the market safely, social distancing, and how to manage family gatherings. Examples of topics include additional safety measures, access to government programs, overviews of key vocabulary words like “quarantine” and “epidemiological curve,” and forms of preventing and addressing family violence.

Phase 2: Living with COVID
In 2019, The Colectivo conducted a community needs assessment among approximately 250 homes in nine “typical” villages. This study assessed levels of awareness in our network’s thematic areas of focus: reproductive health, women’s rights, health/nutrition, and girls’ education. We also included access to the internet in the study. The study revealed significant limitations on access as well as deep levels of misinformation in each of the thematic areas represented by our network. The onset of COVID will no doubt exacerbate the implications of these information gaps. The Colectivo will use radio platforms to address COVID’s potential consequences on each of the network’s thematic areas.

Photo from Women’s Justice Initiative

Our Impact:

  • Over 8,000 contextualized COVID-related radio spots broadcast in Kachiquel, K’iche, and Tzutujil from May-July 2020
  • Over 6,000 masks donated to rural communities via a partnership with Humans in Action
  • The Colectivo is generously supported by Move92.org

Do you have questions about our initiative or would you like information on how you can support the Colectivo’s work?

Please contact Eleanor Unsworth at WINGS by email: