In 1999, Sue Patterson, a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer living in Guatemala, received a phone call from a friend asking for financial help to provide seven women, each of whom had at least eight children, with voluntary tubal ligations. Moved by the women’s desire to take charge of their reproductive lives and better provide for their existing children, Sue solicited donations from her friends. The generosity she received as a result of her plea and the realization of the immense need for reproductive health and family planning services in Guatemala inspired Sue to found WINGS.
Today, WINGS works in predominantly rural, indigenous, and low-income provinces throughout Guatemala. We take a holistic approach to reproductive health that recognizes the diverse barriers to exercising rights at the local level and engages community members, including indigenous women and girls, to secure reproductive rights and bring their voices to the forefront of the decision-making process.
WINGS partners with APROFAM (the largest NGO provider of reproductive health services in Guatemala), and begins subsidizing family planning services.
We expand geographic area to include two low-income areas of Guatemala City and several communities in the departments of Chimaltenango and Escuintla.
WINGS achieves U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit status. We hire our first full-time staff member to provide reproductive health education and begin providing Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer.200 women are screened in the first year!
WINGS now has official NGO status in Guatemala
We launch our first Youth Program,and hire the first Executive Director.
WINGS conducts a prevalence study on sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in Chimaltenango.
We incorporate VIA/Cryotherapy into Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, allowing for same-day delivery of results as well as same-day treatment of precancerous cells.
WINGS for Men program is launched. Goal: raise awareness among men about sexual and reproductive health and counter common myths and misconceptions about family planning.
Youth WINGS begins working in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education in Chimaltenango to improve sexual health education and services for youth.
WINGS’ operating budget passes $500,000.
WINGS expands into Petén, Guatemala’s northernmost province.
WINGS partners with major global donors: USAID and the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation.
WINGS for Men begins working with sugar cane plantation workers in Escuintla department, a group that has a high-risk for contracting HIV and other STIs.
Youth WINGS initiates new street theater program to convey family planning messages to adolescents.
New partnership with the World Bank.
Family Planning and Youth WINGS Programs collaborate to train youth-friendly community-based Family Planning Promoters.
WINGS’ operating budget passes $1,000,000!
Debut of WINGS’ documentary, “Blessed Fruit of the Womb – a fight for reproductive rights in Guatemala.”
Our Volunteer Promoter network now counts 103 members!
WINGS strengthens training and service provision in Alta Verapaz.
WINGS’ first stationary clinic opens in Antigua!
We incorporate vasectomies and tubal ligations into our service portfolio.