At right: Workshops on women's health, family planning and related topics are held quarterly at Xela AID's clinic.
A nation of about 13 million, more than 75% of Guatemala's rural population live in poverty (30% in urban areas). In rural Guatemala, the average woman will give birth to eight children, six of which will survive to adulthood. Infant mortality hovers around 33 in 1000 with about three times as many infants dying in their first year of life as compared to the United States.
Xela AID's first foray into family planning was in 1993, just after its inception. The project imported hundreds of thousands of birth control pills, but soon learned that the method was inappropriate for various cultural reasons. Soon after, the project switched tactics, providing discrete services including:
• Sex education
• Women's health eudcation
• Deproprovera injections
Xela AID has expanded its family planning services and scope over the years. Since the effects of successful family planning are far-reaching, the organization recognizes such efforts as a priority, and will continue to seek resources to expand its program.