This rural Guatemala program fights malnutrition among children and moms by providing families with education about the best and most nutritious vegetable varieties for the area, gardening techniques, how to raise small animals for protein, and nutrition. This model project has caught fire because it is culturally appropriate and economically relevant. It has grown from ten to over 200 families and is spreading to nearby communities. Training is primarily focused on women and youth.
Malnutrition affects more than half of children and adults in rural Guatemala & results in stunted growth and brain development. Families lack the know-how (fifth grade education is the norm for rural women) and start-up funds to successfully raise nutritious vegetables & small animals, or to build garden shelters to protect crops from wild birds, dogs and the incredibly heavy tropical rains. The result is often not enough to eat, high malnutrition rates,stunted kids & ongoing poverty.
It puts more nutritious home grown food on tables of poor families every day. Provides equipment, training, garden supplies to start vegetable gardens and raise small protein animals. Via education, mentoring & leadership training, local moms become master gardeners & build self confidence while maintaining their cultural traditions, natural environment and social structures. Provides the building blocks for sustainability including regular coaching visits and problem solving. The program works.
The program has become popular because it works culturally and financially for families by giving moms food-growing skills to help fight child malnutrition, plus the opportunity to sell extra produce at local markets & thus strengthens women's economic role in the family. Promotes knowledge-sharing & teaching neighbors and extended family. Proof of its potential is its growth from 10 initial families to over 200 & after a year families save/earn enough so their gardens are self-sustainable.