MARIELA and NINA DELGADO
CAHI FELLOWS - COSTA RICA
PROMOTING HOLISTIC HEALTH
OF WOMEN IN SOCIAL RISK
The Delgado sisters are two women from Costa Rica, professionals with a high educational degree, who went through a personal crisis that affected their physical and emotional health. They are part of the 5th Generation of CAHI Fellows.
Nina is a Lawyer with a Master Degree in Public Law, Mariela is an Industrial Engineer with an MBA, together they faced and overcome many challenges with discipline and the changes in life habits. They received a Certification in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).
That combination of experience and knowledge lead them to develop the 1, 2, 3, a Moverse project.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Delgado sisters’ Project is social entrepreneurship named 1, 2, 3 a Moverse, which emerge from a personal need. These women went through challenges related to health (physically and emotionally), and in that process was necessary to change daily habits and learn new ways to manage their style of life.
Through an exercise program, change of nutritional habits and emotional support, these two women transform themselves completely. Today they share the experience and knowledge acquired in the process, especially with women who could be passing through similar challenges.
“I believe that all start from inside out. After identify this fundamental change is ourselves, we wanted to do it bigger. We could talk and share all the benefits of exercises, to maintain healthy nutrition and increase self-esteem because all we have is our experience. We decided to give this information from our heart. We realize that we are agents of change, and the women with whom we work can transform their communities.”
Mariela explained this way, and after that, her sister Nina confirms that initially, they did not conceive themselves as social change agents, but now they know this is true. With their method are having an impact on women in vulnerable communities, who developed self-esteem and improve their health physically and emotionally, participating in this training program that combines cognitive behavioral therapy with high-intensity aerobic exercises and nutritional assessment.
They identified the need in the communities of Costa Rica, their birth country, and where they have been developing the project. Many women of the country and the region have the same issues and face similar challenges, more who are living in communities in social risk.
The Delgado sisters understood the relevance of doing more to support the most vulnerable women, sharing their knowledge and creating dynamics to practices and develop training in public spaces. That way, they start activities in La Carpio, one of the most vulnerable communities in the metropolitan area of Costa Rica.
“The first faces show up with sadness, rudeness toward their child, no tolerance to failure, and difficulties to maintain eye contact. These women cannot manage their emotions and had low self-esteem. We came to say to them that they are an example to their families and communities, protagonists of their lives with the capacity to change and improve the situation, beginning from themselves. At first, there was no credibility, but now we can see the big changes.”
These words of Nina express what is her motivation in the program of 1,2,3 a Moverse. Mariela added an element that gives them the quality of uniqueness: this is not only the combination of elements and exercises to improve the health but especially the close accompaniment. The level of connection between the women is very high, the initiative grows organically, because the participants invited and mobilized other women, and later involved their husbands and families, to be part of the transformation experimented.
The program is inspired in the fundamental principles of the cognitive behavioral therapy, that is connected with aerobics exercises of high intensity, also working in integration through games and the development of micro-learnings in critical areas: affective health, finance, and nutrition.
PROGRAMA CAHI FELLOWS
“It was inside the CAHI Fellows Program, where we realize that this project will be our life project. Perhaps it was before, but in the process of learning and applying the tools we understood that all our daily energy move around 1, 2, 3 a Moverse, to bring this service created from our personal experience and research.”
These words of Nina went confirmed by Mariela because for them al this is about changing the style of life. Currently, they maintain healthy routines and share their knowledge with other women.
They become CAHI Fellows after four years of experience developing the project. Empirically, they went through several challenges and made a visible impact in many participants; but the research and study in the CAHI Fellows Program allow them to structure their proposal, and visualize alternatives to make it sustainable and expand the impact. Mariela said:
“One of the most relevant changes is that we learned the relevance of measurement, the creation of indicators to understand the impact we are achieving and be able to communicate it properly.”
CAHI give them the possibility to think and act creatively, to face the risk with methodology and be innovative in the process. The program motivates them to move forward and let go of any fear.
They value the integration to a regional group of leaders and agents of social transformation. In the CAHI Fellows Network, all the members maintain communications and give support to each other to promote improvement in the health system and increase the quality of medical attention in Central America.
The Delgado Sisters identified that the CAHI Program gave them the knowledge to define their business model, expand their vision, gain clarity about objectives and planning. Now they are evaluating possibilities of expansion using different models of scalability.