This past July, Habitat for Humanity Guatemala expanded its operations even further. The Jutiapa Affiliate split into two offices, allowing a new branch to open in Santa Rosa. With this move, Habitat Guatemala officially has 18 fully functioning affiliates working throughout the country’s 22 departments.
Why is this a significant change? The answer concerns efficiency and teamwork. Affiliates are the backbone of Habitat Guatemala’s success, and an extra affiliate allows the organization to serve more families than before. Rather than having to travel to the main central office in Quetzaltenango, affiliates are located throughout the country and work to serve their local populations, making them better suited to address the need that defines each region.
Habitat Guatemala affiliates have several key responsibilities. Under the leadership of a respective administrator, officials called promoters (“promotores”) work with local regional committees that include community members or neighbors. Together, promoters and committees look throughout the department to find eligible and deserving families to get involved with Habitat Guatemala programming. The promoters then assist those families throughout the application process for a project. For example, if a family wants a new home, promoters will assist that family with paperwork and facilitate educational training sessions regarding home ownership, finance, and self esteem. The affiliate will also help the family find masons and workers to assist with construction, or any other useful resources that will prove useful throughout the process.
Although each affiliate provides Habitat Guatemala’s key signature services, including home construction, repairs, and Healthy Home Kits, some affiliates have projects that address specific necessity. For example, in Retalhuleu, roof construction and repair has been in crucial demand for most rural communities. This affiliate has worked for the past several years to provide laminate roofing to those who need, allowing them to enjoy the full benefits of having a sturdy, waterproof, and heat resistant structure that will project their homes. Across the country in the arid desert landscape of Zacapa, the affiliate there has worked with various municipalities to develop more effective water pump systems, which will support more local families living in communities.
There is little doubt that a new Habitat Guatemala affiliate will bring new opportunities and development projects. We are eager to see the Santa Rosa office finally get in on the action.