Corona Virus in Central America, May 2020
Starting in mid-March, El Salvador and Guatemala closed their borders and schools and began enforcing quarantines. In El Salvador, only one member of each household is allowed to go out to buy food. In Guatemala, there is a curfew extending from 4 pm until 4 am. In both countries, individuals who violate the quarantines may be detained. And many have been, including one woman who was escorting a child to an outdoor latrine!
Responding to the Crisis
In response to the crisis, Co-partners has stepped outside of its “Learn, earn and lead” mission and established emergency food donation programs through all three partner organizations. Each organization chose the contents of the food package to be delivered to families identified by board members.
In Guatemala, where food shortages are more extreme packages of a pound each of beans, rice and sugar, and seven pounds of corn were distributed to 457 impoverished families in the eight communities where the Red de Mujeres is active.
Progress Halted by the Virus
The training centers in Ilobasco and Apastepeque, like all schools, have been closed since March. The closure in Ilobasco meant the shut-down of a hard-won contract to produce school uniforms that would have helped provide sustainability for the Asociación La Nueva Esperanza.
The Red de Mujeres in Chichicastenango (Chichi), perhaps because it is located in a more rural area, has had more ability to do emergency work than the Salvador organizations. They made a second distribution of food to the neediest families and, as well as distribution of seeds for planting family gardens.