In February 2012, PAI held a congressional study tour to Guatemala with staff from the offices of Senators Franken (D-MN), Blumenthal (D-Ct), and Kirk (R-IL). The trip underscored the demand for international reproductive health and family planning services, the cost-effectiveness of integrated health services, and the urgency of implementing the Global Health Initiative (GHI). For this study tour, PAI collaborated with Population Services International (PSI), who has a strong presence in Guatemala implementing a wide range of development programs funded through USAID.
The purpose of the tour was to cultivate new and better-informed champions of international family planning in Congress. In particular, the goal of the study tour was to activate these staffers to encourage their Senators to maintain U.S. bilateral and multilateral funding and evidence-based policies for family planning.
The trip included a variety of urban and rural site visits in Guatemala, as well as formal meetings with local NGOs, USAID mission staff, Ministry of Health officials, and parliamentarians. The rural site, Quetzaltenango, located approximately 128 miles from Guatemala City and inhabited primarily by indigenous people, has been identified by the Guatemalan government as one of the areas of highest need in Guatemala and is now a focus of US integrated programs under the GHI.