Empower women. Eliminate poverty.

Madre Tierra Maya (Earth Day 2024)

Madre Tierra Maya: Earth Day 2024

Our clients have spoken: Their need for waste management, and how you can help

For many of us, home is a sanctuary; for others, it is a daily challenge. Despite their best efforts, the beauty and warmth that our clients strive to create in their homes can be overshadowed by the environmental challenges they face every day.

Empowering women in Guatemala starts with creating a safe and healthy environment for them to live and work. Our Earth Day efforts at Friendship Bridge shine a light on a challenge affecting the lives of every one of our clients: effective waste management.

Why does this matter to our clients?

Poverty Stoplight Results 2022. Friendship Bridge.

Click to read the report.

According to our clients, one of the most pressing challenges in their homes is living with waste. Through the Poverty Stoplight tool, our clients indicated that waste management was one of the top areas they would most like to improve, ranked second only to savings (see Section 5.4 on page 15). In the report, our clients voiced the significant hurdles they face in managing waste, citing reasons such as:

  • Waste collection services charge too much. They do not offer payment plans.
  • There are no waste collection services where I live; no garbage trucks come to my community because of the remoteness of the area.
  • There are no landfills/designated areas to throw away the garbage myself.
  • If I don’t burn the garbage, it stays there.

The absence of trash services and landfills in remote areas leaves many of our clients with few options. She can either let waste accumulate (becoming a breeding ground for pests who spread diseases such as Zika virus and dengue fever, as well as contaminating soil and water which further contributes to food insecurity) or burn garbage so that it doesn’t accumulate (in the process releasing harmful toxins into the air and contributing to respiratory issues that can develop in themselves and their families, subsequently leading to increased healthcare costs and lost income due to being unable to work).

Our clients’ responses to the Poverty Stoplight tool indicate that they understand the importance of waste management, and have lived through the impact that a lack thereof can have on themselves, their families, and their communities. They are ready for the tools needed to implement change.

Taking action

This April, Friendship Bridge is implementing a range of activities to address these challenges with the help of our clients and staff. Here is a glimpse into our efforts:

  • Non-Formal Education sessions provided to our clients will provide information on waste disposal, the importance of correctly sorting waste, and avoiding single-use disposable items like plastic bags and PET bottles. Clients attending our sessions will receive reusable market bags as a step towards eliminating plastic bag use.
  • We are organizing Clean-up Brigades across our branch offices, equipping teams with all necessary tools for effective waste collection. Our goal is to classify 1 bag each of recyclables, plastics, and organic waste per every two people—with a projected 126 people participating, that comes out to roughly 189 collected bags of waste.

For many of our clients, being able to live in a clean environment is not just a comfort—it’s a transformation.

Effective waste management leads to safer, healthier communities where women can focus on growth and development. It is a true component of empowerment, providing a foundation for security, health, and the ability to make lasting memories with family.

How you can join us

En Nuestras Manos Está Cuidar Nuestro PlanetaIn Guatemala, our campaign slogan is En Nuestras Manos Está Cuidar Nuestro Planeta: “It’s in Our Hands to Take Care of Our Planet.” We are not only striving to protect the environment, but improve the living conditions of each of our clients via our hands-on cleanups as well as direct education on waste management, for Earth Day and beyond.

To achieve our goals, we’ve set a fundraising target of $10K for this Earth Day campaign. Your contribution will enable us to extend these vital education programs to make a tangible difference in the lives of women and communities in Guatemala.

Your support can help us teach critical waste management skills and provide essential resources to those who need them most. By giving a gift this Earth Day, you contribute directly to educating and equipping women with the tools they need to create cleaner and safer living conditions.

Every one of our clients deserves a place of security and beauty to call “home,” and they are ready to be empowered with education.

Will you consider a donation today?