LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
BY: FRANCISCO ROBERTO GUTIERREZ MARTÍNEZ, APRIL 2018
It is very worrying to know that half of Guatemalans cannot escape the conditions of poverty in which they live.
At FUNDAP, work has been done to alleviate the difficulties of thousands of beneficiaries of the foundation; in more than 30 years of experience, it has been confirmed that reducing poverty requires a permanent, intelligent, worthy effort for the people, and committed to the cause.
That is why FUNDAP, in order to help reduce poverty in the territories served, has worked on a series of programs that support small-scale producers in agriculture, agroforestry, artisanal, microcredit, food security, health, and education, in addition to work training.
In the task assumed by the foundation, the effort is focused on generating changes, because it is clear that -as we know- if we continue doing the same thing, we will have the same results! Therefore, the changes that FUNDAP proposes for the effort to reduce poverty focus on three fundamental aspects:
- Habit formation
- Working with woman
- Infrastructure and capabilities for the community
In the formation of habits, it is a change in cultural aspects that advocate an improvement in the quality of people’s lives. These expected changes must occur in the habit of saving, in aspects of hygiene and nutrition, in training, in hope for study and in reading comprehensively. The historical experience of other regions of the world shows us that an improvement in habits such as order and cleanliness are definitive for an improvement in health; the discipline of order helps to have a more logical mind and disciplined behaviors.
The second aspect is the support that must be given to women, since they are the first and most important educators of children. Women live a very important virtue: that of saving and investing their capacities and resources for the education of offspring. The self-esteem of women gives security and confidence to their children. It is, therefore, the key to encouraging development that seeks, as the ultimate goal, the reduction of poverty and family welfare, and therefore of their society.
The third element or aspect that should be taken into account in order to reduce poverty is to leave the proper infrastructure in the places we serve in this area. If people are able to assume with clarity and skills the appropriate strategies, these individuals will give the necessary follow-up to the efforts of hygiene, health, education, job training, etc. Vis-à-vis, when the efforts are temporary and conducted by people outside the context in which the problems of poverty are experienced, when the “technicians” leave, the projects end without a real impact.
The challenges of poverty reduction are complex, and therefore require the following of guidelines as indicated.
It cannot be that we Guatemalans are incapable of contributing to the reduction of poverty! We have the conditions, means, and strategies to do it.
Francisco Roberto Gutiérrez Martínez
Quetzaltenango, April 6th, 2018