15 Jun 2020

COVID-19 In Rural & Marginalized Areas, Episode Six

In episode five, we discussed the government’s new stoplight COVID-19 risk system, a public-looking mechanism for regulating public-space use based on COVID-19 data. Here in episode six, we share recent developments at the national, Hidalgo, and global levels, and discuss what PSYDEH does to lean into this new normal.


In the last 14 days, Hidalgo and Mexico City, the areas in which PSYDEH is based, continue to be deemed red-light territory. This means that people are encouraged to remain in their homes because, as Undersecretary of Health Dr. Hugo López Gatell stated during his June 14 press conference at the National Palace, we continue to see an increase in positive cases and deaths. Mexico City is a hotbed for the contagion’s advance and the state of Hidalgo, including our focus region, is showing itself not to be immune either. On Sunday, June 14, the General Directorate of Epidemiology (DGE) of the federal Health Secretariat (SSA) registered the highest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19 in the state. 

Our ongoing reality is troubling. It is made more so by how governments across the republic, heeding the call by “the pueblo”, move forward with reopening plans despite the constant upward trajectory of positive COVID cases. Much remains unknown, heavy, and anxiety-inducing. Of course, anxiety is best managed through information. We recommend these sources:

*This community radio interview with Dr. Myra Cunningham (President, Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), offers a solid perspective on how indigenous communities’ health systems help navigate the pandemic.

* We know that women are critical to solving wicked local challenges. This story celebrates a local indigenous woman doing just this, how her COVID-19 isolated indigenous community in Sonora, MX, builds an organic garden to meet a local health crisis. This story highlights how a nurse in training is almost single-handedly helping her Chiapas community of 500 to stay COVID-19 free.

* PSYDEH work is partly based on the truth that rural and indigenous ancestral traditions merged with modern information and know-how model a way forward for all producing communal resilience. In this story, we learn about how the “Ayni” communal solidarity principle in Andean culture.

Just like those celebrated in these stories, PSYDEH is not taking COVID-19 challenges lying down. We’ve used the quarantine to get myriad internal matters in order, e.g., (1) building a new global volunteers program co-led by our new colleague Mariana Ramirez and Mahathi Kumar, forthcoming end-of-2020 strategic planning completed early with local partner involvement, (3) 2018 annual report and soon-to-be-published 2019 annual report, AND (4) producing a COVID-19 project to support our nascent 5 indigenous women’s organizations, including with (a) trustworthy coronavirus info they share with neighbors, (b) direct food assistance to 100 families, tied to social enterprise-like investment in selling handicrafts, and (c) training on sustainable use of natural resources as food security.


Global resources on rural and marginalized and indigenous communities and COVID-19 were uncommon a few months back but there are now numerous solid materials available. We suggest these English-language pieces from the last two weeks.

  • The Washington, DC-based Brookings Institute’s take on mitigating COVID’s economic impacts in rural communities.
  • Our USA-based partner GlobalGiving’s index of resources for small businesses and nonprofits during the pandemic.



PSYDEH is a non-profit civil association, which was formed by the initiative of a group of young women from the municipality of Santiago Tulantepec in the State of Hidalgo. PSYDEH is committed to working with and for the most vulnerable communities in the region through the promotion of a Sustainable Human Development.