Back in December 2011, Equal Exchange awarded Grounds for Health $15,000 to support our collaboration with four coffee co-ops in Chiapas, Mexico to address the unacceptably high rate of cervical cancer in the province. Since 2007, we have been coming to the region, holding cervical cancer prevention campaigns and training local doctors, nurses and community health promoters about how to run programs on their own. Our goal was to transition full ownership of cervical cancer prevention programs to local leaders by September 2012.
We are pleased to announce that the transition has been a success!
The funds from Equal Exchange were essential to helping us ensure our partners were ready to assume responsibility for the program. The funds directly supported our efforts to develop a Training of Trainers, and they assisted the co-ops in developing and implementing work plans for continuing cervical cancer prevention and control programs in their communities.
Together with local ministries of health, the four co-ops—Campesinos Ecologicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas (CESMACH), Finca Triunfo Verde, Comon Yaj Noptic, and Ramal Santa Cruz—have shown a common resolve to put the health of women and vulnerable communities at the forefront.
Late last month, current Grounds for Health Program Manager Kayla Moore, MPH and former Mexico Program Coordinator Martha Caswell, MPP traveled to Chiapas to attend an event that commemorated the official hand-over. After hearing passionate speeches from all levels of partners—from co-op presidents to medical directors to community health promoters—they left feeling the local sense of shared accomplishment. There was a determined resolve to continue forging alliances that will address gaps in basic health services in rural communities.
Grounds for Health is grateful to Equal Exchange and all our funding partners who have been instrumental in helping these communities find a voice in managing their own health care.