Needs Assessment in Ojuelos

In preparation for the launch, Dr. Rico from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara’s PMC (Community Medicine Program) and I conducted a needs assessment for the villages in the Ojuelos Municipality. There is one small clinic in La Granja which serves 6-8 communities. This clinic is only open one day a month and is staffed by a medic.

Each of the communities has anywhere from 300-800 people, so this clinic is quite busy when it is open. Dr. Rico and I have decided to train about 10 promotoras to begin with, in the villages of La Granja, Salitrillo and Los Morenitos. Since there is a problem with malnutrition among the children, we will be establishing school and community gardens her

La Granja Casa de Salude.

We were fortunate enough to travel with two people who know this area very well. One was Eva who is the adult education coordinator for the area. It is her job to give opportunities to the adults in the communities to complete primary and secondary school. She also trains the teachers at the schools so they are knowledgeable on how to teach adults. The other friend was Carmen, who lives nearby in La Presa. She will likely be our Supervising Promotora. She grew up and continues to live in the area and knows most of the people and their needs. We are very fortunate to have the benefit of their local expertise!

Communities Chosen in Ojuelos Municipality

This is the first of many Notes from the Field. Dr. Rico and I visited a number of communities in the Ojuelos Municipality (like a county in the U.S.). We settled on three closely cluster communities: La Granja (The Farm), Los Morenitos, and Salitrillos. These villages are remotely situated in the Altos of Jalisco. Altos are the foothills or mountains of the State of Jalisco, in the far northeastern part of the state. From Guadalajara, it was about a four to five hour drive. The last hour of the drive was slow going on bumpy roads. We left Guadalajara quite early in the morning in order to have enough time to do our Needs Assessment of the villages.

The area used to employ many people in copper, gold and silver mines, but most of the mines have panned out. Most of the men have left for work in the U.S., while their wives take care of the families and try their hand at farming. They grow corn and beans and raise goats, pigs and chickens. The land is very rocky and arid, so productive farming is difficult here. Some of the pictures below give a good idea why it is so hard to farm. I will be posting more from this trip soon, so check back!

Tia Laura

Tia Goes to Ojuelos, Jalisco

Our next project will be launched in the communities near Ojuelos, Jalisco.  Laura will be visiting those communities on May 7th and 8th to conduct a needs assessment in the area.  During her visit, she will hold village meetings to elect the new promotoras and visit with municipal officials to arrange for continuing resources.  You can keep up on the progress by viewing her daily reports in our Notes from the Field section. 

Promotoras Receive Diplomas in El Reparo

A group of nine promotoras completed their first round of training on March 16th. Francisco, the Municipal Assistant Secretary, Dr. Rico from UAG’s Community Medicine Program, and Laura from the Tia Foundation distributed the diplomas to the graduates.

While villagers looked on, the women received their diplomas, for many, their first diploma ever. A few teary-eyed graduates, who are virtually invisible in their communities, explained the importance of this accomplishment, “Now we are respected and recognized”.
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An Interview With Laura Libman, Founder and President of the Tia Foundation

Recently, Laura Libman, President of Tia Foundation gave an interview to the Thunderbird Alumni Magazine. We thought there were many important questions asked that may give you some good insight into the work we do…and love. (en espanol debajo)

What prompted you to start the Tia Foundation?
I spent part of my childhood with my extended family in Mexico, going to school in Guadalajara and summers on a ranch in rural Mexico. I fell in love with the people there. Toward the end of my education at Thunderbird, I had difficulty finding NGOs who were using the successful ID models that I learned about in class; the models that create independence and sustainability.

I also discovered that in most cases, the downward spiral of poverty in rural areas of Mexico was often precipitated by something health related. A farmer would get injured or his wife would die in childbirth, which meant that productivity suffered, so they produced less food for the family and nothing left over to sell. Then everyone in the family would become malnourished and consequently more prone to illness and less productive. Trying to prevent that first precipitating event would do a lot to improve quality of life.
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