CAFNIMA’s Project Ulpan is a strategic territorial approach to community development such that every community member has access to a life of dignity without being hindered by the needs within five sectors:
- water and public health,
- economic development,
- human rights awareness and representation,
- local leadership strengthening.
The projects implemented in the Ulpan Valley are installed in tandem by both students and the indigenous Q’eqchi’ Mayans. By participating in the five strategic sectors of Project Ulpan, the Q’eqchi’ improve their own health, education, prosperity and liberty; they effect their own benefits and are dignified.
In 2008, partnerships between Lipscomb University and the Living Water Project in Nashville, Tennessee, and CAFNIMA in Guatemala began making regular visits to the Ulpan Valley, culminating in the construction of two water systems for the Benitzul community in May of 2009. Recognizing similar needs in many other communities in the area and also recognizing that there were economic, health and education needs in each community, Project Ulpan was formally launched in February of 2010. Project Ulpan has:
- Established a permanent presence in the Ulpan Valley, with staff members working in each community.
- Conducted various engineering and medical teams.
- Begun education programs, particularly aimed at women’s literacy and secondary education.
- Obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from various entities all over the world.
A total of 16 Communities comprising over 7,100 individuals are now a part of Project Ulpan, with the possibility of adding more in the near future. Each of these communities are unique, and each are considering which aspects of Project Ulpan might most benefit them, but one common thread runs through each community: the need for clean and accessible water. Because of this, Project Ulpan recognized the need to standardize a “Plan of Action” for assessing, designing and constructing water systems in the communities. This Plan of Action is intended to be instructional for Project Ulpan team members residing in the Ulpan Valley and interacting daily with the communities, and it is also intended to be informational for persons or organizations who need to understand that Project Ulpan is a deliberate long-term organization dedicated to helping God’s people in this part of Guatemala.