Worldwide, women are struggling to obtain equal rights and access to basic health services. As we approach International Women’s Day this year, we are presented with an opportunity to reflect on the communities around the world in which we can help women the most.  

Often, the women most affected are those in rural areas, especially indigenous women. As  clinics, hospitals, and health centers close down or lack crucial services, it can mean less access to reproductive health care and fundamental health education. Such gaps affect not only women but their entire families. This is the case in Guatemala, where we work to uplift and empower women and families.

Women’s health education and access is more important than ever— especially in Guatemala. Though it is an easily detectable and treatable disease, cervical cancer remains the most fatal cancer among women in Guatemala. Less than 10% of the population is screened every year.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. A woman who is screened just once in her lifetime reduces her risk of cervical cancer by 25-36%. That’s why this year, we want to focus on this simple, life-saving procedure.

Our Women’s Health Program gives women the opportunity to overcome these challenges. We provide mobile medical screenings, education and consultations at no cost to a population that needs it the most. Tailored to the specific needs of isolated, indigenous communities, our community health curriculum covers topics such as women’s reproductive health, family nutrition, and sanitation and hygiene, while providing essential medical screenings for early detection.

Our partnership with Case Western Reserve School of Medicine’s Global Health Program, supports MG staff to develop health curriculum, assist in monitoring and evaluation, and administer key health exams. At Mercado Global, we place the highest importance on building up the knowledge of indigenous women leaders. Providing insights that can alter habits  in key health areas is the most effective way to circulate life-saving health practices within rural communities.

This year, our partnership with local NGO Waku Kawoq will allow us to provide even more education and care regarding cervical cancer. Waku Kawoq will administer free mobile screenings and follow-up care for women testing positive, while we will provide monthly education classes that reach near 200 women. Our trainers will travel to our artisans’ communities to deliver education classes, to serve as a support system, and provide a stepping stone toward empowerment and healthy futures.

Join us this year in our #WomenForward campaign as we fight for healthy futures for our artisans and their families. Donations to this campaign will go directly to our efforts in Guatemala to educate, prevent, and treat cervical cancer. Donate to our Crowdrise page or even start your own. Show the world that women’s rights and women’s health access matters. Because when women are healthy, the future is healthy, and families thrive.