Guaguacuna, an NGO based in Otavalo.
Guaguacuna is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) founded by Aida Crespo in 1999 with the purpose of developing projects that would help the indigenous communities of Otavalo, Ecuador.
We were born the moment Aida Crespo visited Mojandita, the hometown of the ecuadorian women who took care of her mother – in the most loving way that no one ever did -.
With the support of her husband and six children, Aida Crespo, decided to embark on this project. The first urgent need: feed the children at the school in Mojandita (Otavalo) as these were malnourished children, tired of working all day.
Until the present moment, Guaguacuna holds a large amount of diverse projects. Along with our collaborators and volunteers, we work day and night to make this beautiful dream come true.
What is Guaguacuna trying to achieve?
The primary purpose is to improve how healthcare and education is being managed in Otavalo. With a focus on gender, environment and institutional issues.
The reason why we focus on health is to fight the following challenges:
- High rate of child malnutrition and low birth weight. Along with a high rate of death from preventable causes.
- Low health care provision, especially in rural areas.
- Insufficient investment in health per capita.
- Very tight budget for infrastructure, equipment and salaries for the health workforce
- Responsible professionals, cordial treatment and business ethics are nonexistent aspects in indigenous communities.
- Lack of emergency care.
- High percentage of population that has access to unlicensed medicines, self-medicates and are attended by non-professional practitioners.
On another hand, we focus on education to improve the following issues:
- Low levels of education and school attendance. Overtaken by a disproportionate rate of illiterates and a very small fraction of young people with higher education.
- Educational inequality between rural and urban areas.
- High rates of highschool dropouts.
- Insufficient budget for hiring, training, monitoring and evaluating teachers.
- Lack of infrastructure, equipment and technology.
- Poor teaching methods and inadequate academic study plan.
Ecuador (and specially, the indigenous communities in Otavalo) has been facing all these problems for a long time, and solving them is the reason why Guaguacuna was founded. It is important for the area to achieve and maintain the levels of development desired by its inhabitants.
Where are we exactly based?
The province of Imbabura, known as Provincia Azul de los Lagos (in English, Blue Province of Lakes – isn’t it beautiful?-), is located between the central and western ranges of the Andes, in the northern Andean mountain range.
It’s named after the the volcano that lies in the middle of the territorial jurisdiction. A whole historical-cultural concept was developed from that volcano, which persists to this day.
Imbabura has a strategic location within the country, as it is only approximately 100 km from the Colombian border. It also constitutes a communicating axis between the Amazon and the Coast. While being very close to the capital of Ecuador.
As seen in the picture, the province of Imbabura is made up of six cantons. Being the canton of Otavalo the area where our NGO operates.