The organization had never sought community feedback in designing its services, and BFLA was not the first name that came to mind for most Belizeans when they were asked which organization had roots in the community, listened to their concerns, and worked together with them.
Daunting perhaps, but it was not overwhelming for the determined BFLA staff.
Although some village leaders expressed skepticism that men would allow their wives to participate in open discussion groups about sensitive topics, most were encouraging and helped to guide BFLA as it reached out to respected members of the community.
These women participated in a five-day CHW training, similar to the initial workshop provided to the BFLA staff.
Catholic and Pentecostal leaders opposed to contraception have criticized BFLA over the years, and several warned villagers not to cooperate with BFLA's new community project.
BFLA recognized that any effort to penetrate the community would require an improved relationship with at least some representatives of the Church.
Pastors or church members announced BFLA events to their parishioners, and in some villages BFLA was able to use the church facilities for group discussions or other educational activities.
Rosberg explains, "The church leaders held a retreat for village leaders and tried to discourage them from having anything to do with BFLA.
The support of the pastors and other influential religious leaders was important not only for establishing the community-based discussion groups but also for easing the stigma associated with the BFLA clinics.
The facilitators noted these requests, and BFLA soon followed up with a protocol assuring that only physicians would have access to STI results.
The CHWs gradually gained experience in explaining that BFLA could help villagers deal with sexual and reproductive health issues.
As Sandra Flores, the BFLA Orange Walk Community Coordinator described the women in one village, "Pegaron el grito al cielo" ([the women] .