Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala

by Save the Children Federation
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Buy a Goat for a Family in Guatemala
Baby being weighed in Chuicavioc, Guatemala
Baby being weighed in Chuicavioc, Guatemala

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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Goat Center
Goat Center

The sleepy Mayan village of Aldea El Paraiso in the Guatemalan Quiché highlands was buzzing with action today during an opening ceremony of a new goat-raising center, hosted by the non-profit organization Save the Children in partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The center is part of a goat milk program designed to help chronically malnourished children get the key nutrients they need to be healthy and grow.

"One of the worst places in the world for chronic child malnutrition is not found in the brown deserts of Africa, but in the green mountains of Latin America," said Carlos Carrazana, Save the Children's Chief Operating Officer. "In Guatemala, nearly one in two children under the age of 5 is chronically malnourished, meaning they don't get enough of the right kinds of food each day to fuel their growing brains and bodies."[i]

Among indigenous populations in rural parts of El Quiché, the situation is even worse. The region's lush, rolling hills mask a hidden hunger crisis affecting 72 percent of its children under 5.[ii] That's why Save the Children, with support from GMCR and USAID, has opened the goat-raising center to offer milk as a source of protein for malnourished children in the region.

"Chronic malnutrition in El Quiché coffee-growing communities has kept many young children from reaching their cognitive and physical potential in life, a potential so necessary to move their communities from extreme levels of poverty," said Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Supply Chain Community Outreach for GMCR. "Good nutrition is fundamental to the strength of our supply chain. The new Save the Children Goat Center in El Quiché will lead to healthier, more productive lives in communities that many coffee companies, including GMCR, depend on for their fine coffees."

"For over ten years, USAID Guatemala has supported Save the Children's innovative food security and nutrition programs for families living in extreme poverty and with very high rates of chronic malnutrition in Guatemala's Quiché department. Over the years, Save the Children has championed this exemplary 'family goat model.' Today it is our pleasure to join Save the Children and other important partners in this inauguration of The Goat Center which is the culmination of their laudable work to generate income and food security among the extreme poor in Guatemala's Western Highlands," said USAID Mission Director Kevin Kelly.

The center currently houses 85 goats (it has capacity for 300) and will serve 115 surrounding communities. Over the next three to five years, 2,200 families and more than 3,500 children will benefit from the goat center. In addition to providing milk for children, the program teaches families how to generate income year-round by raising goats and other farm animals, selling surplus milk, and making cheese and yogurt.

A Brewing Partnership

GMCR first partnered with Save the Children in 2009 to improve food security for coffee-producing families in Nicaragua. Since then, the company has contributed more than $7 million to Save the Children to provide similar programs in Indonesia, El Salvador, Bolivia, Honduras and Guatemala.

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in more than 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR)
As a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) is recognized for its award-winning coffees, innovative brewing technology, and socially responsible business practices. GMCR supports local and global communities by investing in sustainably-grown coffee and allocating a portion of its pre-tax profits to socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. For more information, please visit www.GMCR.comwww.greenmountaincoffee.com, or www.keurig.com.

[i]National Survey of Maternal and Child Health 2008-2009
[ii]Ibid

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Goat Center in Guatemala
Goat Center in Guatemala

The sleepy Mayan village of Aldea El Paraiso in the Guatemalan Quiché highlands was buzzing with action today during an opening ceremony of a new goat-raising center, hosted by the non-profit organization Save the Children in partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The center is part of a goat milk program designed to help chronically malnourished children get the key nutrients they need to be healthy and grow.

"One of the worst places in the world for chronic child malnutrition is not found in the brown deserts of Africa, but in the green mountains of Latin America," said Carlos Carrazana, Save the Children's Chief Operating Officer. "In Guatemala, nearly one in two children under the age of 5 is chronically malnourished, meaning they don't get enough of the right kinds of food each day to fuel their growing brains and bodies."

Among indigenous populations in rural parts of El Quiché, the situation is even worse. The region's lush, rolling hills mask a hidden hunger crisis affecting 72 percent of its children under 5. That's why Save the Children, with support from GMCR and USAID, has opened the goat-raising center to offer milk as a source of protein for malnourished children in the region.

"Chronic malnutrition in El Quiché coffee-growing communities has kept many young children from reaching their cognitive and physical potential in life, a potential so necessary to move their communities from extreme levels of poverty," said Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Supply Chain Community Outreach for GMCR. "Good nutrition is fundamental to the strength of our supply chain. The new Save the Children Goat Center in El Quiché will lead to healthier, more productive lives in communities that many coffee companies, including GMCR, depend on for their fine coffees."

"For over ten years, USAID Guatemala has supported Save the Children's innovative food security and nutrition programs for families living in extreme poverty and with very high rates of chronic malnutrition in Guatemala's Quiché department. Over the years, Save the Children has championed this exemplary 'family goat model.' Today it is our pleasure to join Save the Children and other important partners in this inauguration of The Goat Center which is the culmination of their laudable work to generate income and food security among the extreme poor in Guatemala's Western Highlands," said USAID Mission Director Kevin Kelly.

The center currently houses 85 goats (it has capacity for 300) and will serve 115 surrounding communities. Over the next three to five years, 2,200 families and more than 3,500 children will benefit from the goat center. In addition to providing milk for children, the program teaches families how to generate income year-round by raising goats and other farm animals, selling surplus milk, and making cheese and yogurt.

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Goats improve the future for a family in need.
Goats improve the future for a family in need.
Real Madrid football star Cristiano Ronaldo is kicking off 2013 as Save the Children's new Global Artist Ambassador. In his new role, Cristiano will fight child hunger and obesity, and promote physical activity and healthy eating. "When I learned that 1 in 7 kids around the world go to bed hungry each night, I jumped at the chance to get involved," said Ronaldo. 
Chronic hunger impair children's development and leaves them vulnerable to deadly disease. Children are more likely to be healthy and educated when their families are not worried about where the next meal will come from. To help parents fight hunger and malnutrition, Save the Children's programs focus on improving the food supply, farming practices and finances of families in need.  In rural mountainous Guatemala, Save the Children is helping undernourished preschoolers grow and gain weight, and Ronaldo is gearing up to take on child hunger in Guatemala.
"See how @SavetheChildren is showing parents how to use goat milk to tackle child #hunger in Guatemala," he tweeted. Cristiano is referring to a goat milk program which is helping chronically malnourished Guatemalan children like four-year-old Isabella. "Parents want to do everything they can for their child. As a father, I can only imagine how Isabella's mother must have felt, knowing her child was not getting the nourishment she needed," said Cristiano Ronaldo. "Fortunately, Isabella's mother got good advice from Save the Children on how healthy foods like goat milk can help Isabella gain weight and grow. But not all parents get this guidance, and that is heartbreaking."

Save the Children's goat-raising center in Guatemala offers milk as a source of protein for undernourished children living in rural communities. Nearly half of all children under age 5 in Guatemala are chronically malnourished. In Quiche, a rural mountainous area about 165 kilometers outside of Guatemala City where Isabella lives, the number of chronically malnourished children climbs to more than 72 percent of under 5 children. One-year-olds are especially vulnerable once they stop breastfeeding and no longer get enough of the right proteins and nutrients in their daily diet.

"Healthy foods fuel the growth of a child's brain and body in their early years. Without them, children suffer life-long consequences — their growth is stunted, they are more susceptible to illness, they struggle to keep up and pay attention in school," said Carlos Carrazana, chief operating officer of Save the Children. "But when we reach children early on, we can change their future, and make sure they have a chance to reach their full potential."

Empowering Families to Tackle Child Hunger in Guatemala

Save the Children provides child hunger programs to families in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, an under-resourced area that is home to the country's ethnic minority community and where a high percentage of children are malnourished. In addition to the goat milk program, Save the Children counsels pregnant women, mothers and caretakers on how to breastfeed, and on how to help their kids be healthier and eat a better diet. Working with community volunteers and health workers, Save the Children reaches mothers through classes, home and health clinic visits, community fairs, community theater events and soccer tournaments.

Save the Children also advises families on how to grow more nutritious food, such as beans, corn, potatoes and vegetables, and how to raise animals for eggs, goat milk and meat. Families also learn how to increase their income through better marketing approaches and new business opportunities like horticulture and animal husbandry, which helps pay for food and other needs for their children.

"Look at beautiful Isabella today. She is a happy, healthier child," added Ronaldo. "I want her story of a life free from hunger to be the story of every Guatemalan child. That's a goal worth pursuing." 

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The Brito family and their goat.
The Brito family and their goat.

Doña Fidelia Brito lives in Guatemala's Highlands, in a small rural village. A successful experience with Save the Children's goat program has inspired Doña Fidelia to fight chronic malnutrition in her community.

In 2008 Doña Fidelia and her husband Leonel Cruz took their only child Felipe Josué to a growth monitoring event. They worried about his low weight and looked for ways to help provide him with moer nutritious food. With guidance from the local health worker, they registered for Save the Children' goat raising program in order to produce goat milk at home for Felipe Josué.

After just a few months began to see a remarkable improvement in Felipe Josué's growth. When the goat had two kids, they kept them and gave the mother to another family. Later on, Doña Fidelia's own health improved by drinking goat milk, with no more hair loss and the headaches she used to have.

Early in 2012 Doña Fidelia adopted two more goats. Through best practices in animal husbandry, she now has four adult goats, and more on the way as two are pregnant. Thanks to the training received in goat management she has reached a daily production of a half gallon a day which she distributes among the young children of her village.

Other mothers are following her example, like Doña Maria Magdalena Alvarez whose goat now produces 1/2 quart of milk per day, just enough for her two-year-old daughter Catarina.

Doña Fidelia's dream is coming true, and other goat-related benefits for home gardening (manure) and meat production represent further contributions to her isolated rural community food security. 

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Save the Children Federation

Location: Fairfield, CT - USA
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Twitter: @savethechildren
Project Leader:
Penelope Crump
Fairfield, CT United States

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