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ABPD works with each community to design the most appropriate water and sanitation solution for that community based on an environmental assessment and what the community wants. Due to the great variety of environmental factors, the actual water system may vary greatly in size and complexity. A typical water and environmental sanitation project agreement will include a plan to:
  • bring running water to each household or to key points in the community;
  • ensure that water is chlorinated or appropriately filtered;
  • install gray water filters and ecological latrines;
  • build improved cook stoves that ventilate smoke outside the house and use less firewood;
  • develop other environmental measures such as adequate disposal of solid waste, and
  • create a health education plan to ensure that families adopt appropriate hygienic practices such as hand washing.
Each beneficiary family signs a commitment to pay a monthly assessment that goes to a pooled fund for maintenance and repairs, as well as to share in communal activities to monitor and maintain the system. When the project begins, community members provide basic coordination and oversight, manual labor, locally available building materials and a percentage of the cost of hiring the needed professional/technical consultants. The municipal government provides some technical and monitoring support and some of the materials that are not locally available.
ABPD provides most of the materials that are not locally available and supports and mentors the local committee to coordinate the whole process, which takes approximately one year to complete.  

APBD uses a participatory methodology called SARAR to work together with women and men in the village to analyze their needs and to determine how best to implement new activities.

What is SARAR?

SARAR is a capacity - building methodology designed to engage people’s creative abilities in planning, problem solving and evaluation. The objective of SARAR is to stimulate learners to think through problems for themselves and to help them to develop their own analytic, creative and planning abilities. The acronym SARAR stands for the five attributes that are essential for a participatory and self-sustaining process:

Self-esteem: a sense of self-worth as a person as well as being a valuable resource for development.

Associative strengths: the capacity to define and work toward a common vision through mutual respect, trust, and collaborative effort.

Resourcefulness: the capacity to visualise new solutions to problems even against the odds, and the willingness to be challenged and take risks.

Action planning: combining critical thinking and creativity to come up with new, effective, and reality-based plans in which each participant has a useful and fulfilling role.

Responsibility: for follow-through until the commitments made are fully discharged and the hoped-for benefits achieved.

For more information on SARAR go to:
International evidence shows that chronic malnutrition is best addressed by interventions targeting the first 1000 days (pregnancy and the first 2 years of life). ABPD's participatory education programs focus on the first 1000 days: nutrition during pregnancy; promotion of exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age; and introduction of complementary foods after six months.  
Guatemala is the second most vulnerable country in the world to global climate change--making food production increasingly difficult. A key focus of adaptation to climate change is improving the production of the foods in Guatemalan's basic diet such as corn and beans through the use of seeds that are less susceptible to the effects of climate change, and the introduction of more sustainable growing techniques.
At the same time, it is important to improve storage of grains and the post-harvest management of crops to reduce losses. ABPD is testing new approaches for storage and planned use of basic grains.
Highly adaptable goats are being introduced in communities in order to increase the availability of animal protein.
Family gardens ensure availability of key nutrients and also allow families to sell excess production so that they can purchase other basic goods. 
The right to determine the number and spacing of ones children is a fundamental aspect of women's and youth's empowerment. The possibility of having a smaller family with well-spaced births has both direct and indirect effects on nutrition and child development. Education on contraception and family planning is integrated into the training activities conducted throughout the project. Low-cost oral contraceptives and condoms are provided at a subsidized rate by the ABPD staff working in the commununity.  Being able to have children when and if you want to is an important part of people's empowerment. BPD educators provide information on family planning and distribute some family planning methods in the isolated communities where we work.
In its partnerships with communities, ABPD strives to mobilize the entire community to address health issues and works especially to empower women to participate more fully in the community development process.
Young people can be important partners in community development activities and ABPD involves children (aged 10 to 14 years) and youth (aged 15 to 18 years) as responsible actors in their own development. ABPD integrates specific activities with and for adolescents and youth into all three of the basic strategies, as well as into its community mobilization work.
As climate change continues to manifest itself--in the form of increased frequency and intensity of hazards such as floods, storms, heat waves and drought--the need for communities to access humanitarian support and rebuild damaged infrastructure is increasing. ABPD works with communities in natural disasters to distribute food and other relief supplies, and to rebuild damaged water systems, latrines, schools and other small infrastructure.
In order to strengthen community resiliency to recurring disasters, ABPD is also educating people about their risks and building their capacity to devise and implement risk reduction measures.
Continuous monitoring and evaluation both ensures that the programs are doing what they have planned and that the activities are having the desired results. In addition to a continuous oversight to ensure that the activities are being conducted as planned, the program has identified a set of key results related to the outcomes we are striving to achieve. These are summarized in the results framework graphic.
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