One Year, Huge Impact

The desertified landscape stretches to the coastline, throwing the environmental contradiction into sharp relief. How can so much thirsty land sit next to so much water? For centuries, the Wayuu, an indigenous community living in La Guajira, Colombia, have navigated this paradox by conserving water in natural aquifers filled by rain. Climate change has brought hotter temperatures and less rainfall, threatening the Wayuu’s traditional way of life. With less rainfall, natural aquifers become contaminated, salty, or dry up, leaving less water to sustain crops, livestock, and people. 

Most Wayuu live in settlements without running water. Some have to walk for 90 minutes to haul water from aquifers back to their homes. A lack of clean water leads to poor hygiene and diarrhea, draining people of crucial nutrients as smaller crop yields and barren grazing fields mean they have less to eat. Public health deteriorates, pushing some Wayuu children into malnutrition.

You saw the need for health services in the Wayuu community and took action with a three-prong project. Working with local partners, you provided medical support, fostered community-based education, and addressed the factors contributing to poor health, mainly a lack of clean water and nutritious food, thereby delivering a holistic response. 

Your Impact in Numbers

Although a community’s needs determine the life cycle of a project, our monthly donors’ commitment to our work supports our long-term projects. We implemented the La Guajira Health Services project in March of 2022, and thanks to you, we ran it for 15 months. Together, this is what we accomplished: 

A health care professional visits a settlement to check on a child’s progress combatting malnutrition. Photo by Harold David Brito Ortega for Preemptive Love.

Medical Support

  • You facilitated 9,208 medical consultations, including general medicine, pediatric care, gynecological care for pregnant women, nutrition, psychological support, and dental checkups. Free medicine was available at every medical consultation.
  • You provided 101 women with subdermal contraceptive implants alongside counseling on family planning, contraceptive methods, possible complications, and warning signs. 
  • You supported 25 children under five who were at risk of acute malnutrition. 15 children recovered while two improved their nutritional status. 

Community-based Education

Wayuu mothers attend a knowledge dialogue on best health practices. Photo by Harold David Brito Ortega for Preemptive Love.
  • You empowered 38 community leaders to train community members as community health workers, increasing early detection of childhood diseases and healthcare response in the Wayuu community. Community leaders received month-long food packs in recognition of their dedication. In total, you delivered 324 food packs to community leaders.
  • You built up local capacity by holding knowledge-sharing dialogues. Health specialist discussed topics such as breastfeeding, breast self-examinations, mental health, suicide prevention, personal hygiene, gender-based violence, sexually transmitted disease, and vector-borne diseases, reaching 3,725 people. 

Factors Contributing to Poor Health

  • A lack of access to potable water is the leading cause of poor health in the Wayuu communities we support. You delivered 76,000 liters of water, benefiting approximately 1,073 families.
  • Many families do not consume enough nutrients due to high rates of unemployment and poverty. Through our food for recycle program, community members collected more than 16 tons of recyclable waste, which they redeemed to buy what they needed from a local shop.

9,208. 101. 25. 15. 38. 3725. 76,000. 1,073. 16. 

These numbers tell us many things, but they don’t tell us how your generosity has impacted the Wayuu. Medical care saves lives, but it also embodies listening, of saying we see you. We honor your way of life. And we belong to each other. 

Although our project has finished, we are exploring new ways to support our Wayuu friends. Stay tuned for updates concerning new programming in La Guajira. We couldn’t do it without you, especially our monthly donors, whose generosity enables us to build healthier communities.