At Spanish Marks, we build relationships with local charities in Guatemala. The first step we always take is to work to understand the needs of the charities. Our work is led by what they have identified is needed. The charities themselves are experts in understanding the needs of the communities they serve. A lot of the charities have individuals working for them who are community members themselves, or have worked with the communites for decades. These people know and understand what the communities need.
We therefore try and support them. When we make community visits, we observe and learn from the work that these people are doing. We learn about the projects that they are implementing but we rarely have an input in how the projects should be formed or implemented. This is because we are not experts in the social and humanitarian issues facing local communities in Guatemala.
Therefore, how do we help?
We help charities with their organisational structure. Many of these charities are grassroot and intertwined within the communities. They know the communities, people and issues but they often lack resources. Our expertise comes in different forms, from helping with a social media strategy to setting up websites or helping with fundraising (internally and abroad) or introducing them to other organisations that can help them in certain areas or helping to make their organisational structure become more self-sufficient. This way the charities can focus fully on carrying out their essential work for the local communities.