Now more than ever, we see the importance of smart, simple solutions to keep communities healthy and resilient in a global crisis.  

Guatemala's tough response to containing the Coronavirus has been extremely successful - a strict curfew has the whole country at a stand-still for over 2 weeks now, keeping us at less than 25 cases in the country, though numbers are expected to rise significantly as the incubation period comes to a close.

Nonetheless, the poor are suffering extreme economic losses and desperation is rising. Imagine living in a small room with a family of 8-12 people with no electricity: school is canceled, parents can't earn an income, and domestic violence is on the rise.  This situation is expected to continue through May, and strict travel restrictions has made it difficult to reach people who need help.

In Guatemala, we are providing a sense of security to 300 un-electrified children with a simple solar lamp: saving the family money on candles, and creating a safe, lit space so the family can read or weave.   Unfortunately COVID-19 restricts field staff from traveling, so we are working with our trusted community leaders to receive mailed packages, photograph recipients and track distributions with government issued ID cards.

The USA has been hard hit as the rising number of cases leave face masks and ventilators in short supply and the most vulnerable members of our society lacking medical attention and economic support.  In response to these conditions, the CDC is taking an appropriate technology approach to containing the virus with do-it-yourself instructions for non-medical face masks using common household materiales. We recommend these easy designs!

If you have a sewing machine, Diana Wong, ATC Board member, is sewing face masks to donate - you can too!  Here's a 1 hour lesson on zoom and design notes.

by Monika Goforth

Executive Director

MA Social Change and Development, Food Security