Esteemed Senior Fellow from the Chicago Council on Global Affaris, Roger Thurow, visited Save the Children's nutrition programs in Guatemala where we include our goat program as a tool to fight malnutrition. Here is his blog:
There are several reasons why Guatemala sits atop the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index, a ranking compiled by the Institute of Development Studies in the UK measuring the political and social commitment to reduce hunger and undernutrition in developing countries.
One, the Guatemalan government is beginning to implement a Zero Hunger Plan that aims to reduce chronic malnutrition in children less than five years of age by 10% by 2016. That would be quite a feat, since Guatemala has one of the world’s highest child stunting rates at 48%.
Two, the country’s influential public sector is backing the plan and has formed a business alliance against malnutrition, which annually diminishes Guatemala’s GDP by some 5%.
Three, the International Rabbits (Internacionales Conejos) are on the case. The Rabbits are arguably Guatemala’s most popular marimba band. Working with the international humanitarian organization Save the Children, the Rabbits have provided a jaunty soundtrack to the national war on child stunting, which particularly emphasizes good nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene during the 1,000 days from when a women becomes pregnant to her child’s second birthday. After their hit song “Give the Breast,” about the importance of breastfeeding during the first six months, now comes the follow-up “Give Complementary Foods,” about the nutritional needs of children through two years. Marimba has carried the health messages of the 1,000 days to the far reaches of the Western Highlands, where child malnutrition rates soar to 75%.
About the Author
Roger Thurow joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow on global agriculture and food policy in January 2010 after three decades at The Wall Street Journal. For 20 years, he was a foreign correspondent based in Europe and Africa. His coverage of global affairs spanned the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela, the end of apartheid, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the humanitarian crises of the first decade of this century–along with 10 Olympic Games. In 2003, he and Journal colleague Scott Kilman wrote a series of stories on famine in Africa that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. Their reporting on humanitarian and development issues was also honored by the United Nations.
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