Horizons of Friendship partners with Global Affairs Canada to save the lives of women and children

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Horizons of Friendship, signed a multi-million dollar partnership agreement on 22 March with Global Affairs Canada’s international aid branch that officially kick-starts an ambitious Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) initiative in predominantly indigenous rural Guatemalan communities.  

As part of the Government of Canada’s Partnerships for Strengthening Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, the four-year, $13.2 million,  Reducing Gaps for Indigenous Peoples in Totonicapán, Guatemala initiative, aims to decrease maternal and newborn deaths in marginalized Maya K’iche communities;  directly benefitting over 218,000 people.  The project also includes an innovative Canadian public engagement component that will benefit 700 Canadian MNCH practitioners and stakeholders through cooperation and knowledge-sharing with their Guatemalan counterparts, with at least a further 8,000 Canadians benefitting from an increased understanding of MNCH locally and globally.

This landmark agreement is the largest of its kind in Horizons’ 43-year history of promoting social justice and people-centred development in Central America and Mexico.  The partnership sees Global Affairs Canada generously contributing $11.4 million and Horizons of Friendship fundraising $1.8 million. This means that for every dollar Horizons raises for the MNCH project, Global Affairs Canada will match with $6. 

 “We are extremely excited to launch this project in partnership with Global Affairs Canada and our partners in Guatemala” said Patricia Rebolledo, Horizons’ Executive Director. 

In Guatemala, Indigenous women are twice as likely to die during childbirth as non-indigenous women, and mortality among Guatemala’s indigenous children under 1 year of age is 67% higher than the rest of the population. In rural Guatemalan communities , traditional indigenous midwives  provide the majority of maternal and newborn health care, attending 69% of all live births.  However, there is a need to improve service standards among midwives as an estimated 41% of all maternal deaths among indigenous women occur in their homes. 

Working with our Guatemalan partner,  the Association for Health, Promotion, Research and Education (PIES de Occident), Horizons’ new initiative will increase service coverage in rural areas and will formally train and better equip over 1,000 midwives, bolstering their centuries-old expertise. 

Dr. Paul Caldwell, President of Horizons Board of Directors, states: “This is a huge chance for us to improve and strengthen the way health care is delivered to this vulnerable indigenous population. There is a lot of work to be done. We need your help, and we hope that Canadians, not only in Northumberland, but all across this vast and generous country will support us with this project.”

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Horizons is supporting a multi-year maternal-child health project in Guatemala that combines training for midwives in both traditional and modern medicine.


MNCH: Participate in the Second Canada-Guatemala Knowledge-Exchange!

Canadian team with Guatemalan health providers

6 midwives, 3 nurses and one family doctor formed the first exchange team

Horizons is thrilled to invite the next group of Canadian maternal and child health practitioners, experts and advocates to participate in its second Canada-to-Guatemala knowledge-exchange, planned for February 17-26, 2018.

These exchanges form part of an ambitious, four-year Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) project, with support from Global Affairs Canada and led by our local partner PIES (the Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education), that is improving the delivery and use of MNCH services for thousands of Indigenous Maya K’iche’ women, children and families in the province of Totonicapán, Guatemala.


Horizons of Friendship recognizes the Rotary Club of Cobourg


Horizons’ Treasurer, Mike Dupuis, presents a plaque to Beth Selby, President of the Rotary Club of Cobourg, while Patricia Rebolledo, Executive Director of Horizons, looks on.

Horizons of Friendship recognizes the Rotary Club of Cobourg, World Community Service Committee for their generous grant to make much needed repairs to our Thrift Shop.

Over 50 volunteers work in our Thrift Shop from Monday to Saturday, and approximately 100 local residents visit the shop daily. Through the support of the Rotary Club of Cobourg, these improvements have provided a safer, more positive cleaner working environment for Horizons’ volunteers and greater accessibility for people with walkers and strollers that access the shops daily.


Indigenous & Women's Rights on Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast

Association of Indigenous Women of the Atlantic (AMICA)
Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua
Gender Equality, Violence Against Women
Berna Carneras Anderson one of the Whita's - a traditional Miskitu authority - trained in the project

Berna Carneras Anderson one of the Whita's - a traditional Miskitu authority - trained in the project.

Promotion of Indigenous women's rights to prevent and address violence against women in Miskitu Indigenous communities:

The project aims to build capacity in local communities amongst both men and women to prevent inter-family, sexual and gender-based violence. The project has three major components: training young women on how to access to justice and legal services, working directly in the communities to support women who have experienced violence, and supporting community leaders and traditional Miskitu authorities in the application of the law and advocating within the official justice system.


Spring Appeal 2017

Dear Friends:

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Kids from the public school in Concepcion Chiquirichapa, Guatemala pose for a photo with Patricia Rebolledo and Emily Elizabeth Hill during the February 2017 Educational Tour.

Spring is the time to renew our hopes and faith in humanity, even in the face of the devastating news we read about every day – news that leaves us feeling sad and hopeless.

But I have seen, firsthand, how strong and enduring the human spirit is. I have witnessed the rebirth of communities in Central America and Mexico that had been destroyed after decades of war. I have watched how the fire in the heart of community members, damped down by those same forces, has rekindled and burst into life.  

When there was no health care in her village after the 12-year civil war in El Salvador, Maria Elena, a single mother, became a nurse and a midwife. And then there is Miguel, another victim of the war, who rebounded by becoming a doctor to help others in his village.

Writers & Friends Port Hope 2017

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