Monday, September 12, 2005


In addition to researching and writing for the US-based NGO MISF (May I Speak Freely Media), Carley is volunteering with B’elejeb B’atz (BEH-leh-heb BATZ), an indigenous women’s organization based in Xela.

The organization has several different projects going on in Xela and the surrounding rural areas, but the biggest project, and the one Carley is working on, is a reproductive health program that includes family planning initiatives. B’elejeb B’atz runs a few clinics in the area that provide conventional family planning methods such as the pill, condoms, IUDs, and sterilization, but they really push what’s known in English as the Standard Days Method (SDM). And, while it may sound a lot like the notoriously ineffective Rhythm Method, it’s actually a natural birth control technique that’s 95% effective, according to the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown (which also funds B’elejeb B’atz). In Guatemala, they present SDM in the form of a necklace with different colored beads so that it is accessible to illiterate women and men.

The "standard days" necklace

Carley’s helping them with fun things like a comparative analysis of training programs, developing their training about the Peace Accords, and generally helping them to improve the presentation of their information.

Check out Rob's volunteer projects

Check out our home here in Xela