Men At Work
Whilst visiting the rural villages in the mountains of Guatemala it was very evident to see first hand the vast improvement to general village living standards through Agros’ relationship with GlobalGiving. This was physically evident through the construction of educational facilities, a basketball court which doubles as a meeting area, corn grinder and greenhouse just to name a few.
Agricultural development techniques implemented like the greenhouse create more effective crops. One season the produce cultivated was worth US$300. After the installation of the greenhouse the following season from the same amount of seeding the crop took in US$4000. This money goes back to the families to improve their living standards.
Children receive free schooling from age 1-6 in Guatemala, however high school attendance rate is dramatically less than primary school due to the tradition of children helping their families/elders working and farming the crops. Since Agros has joined the community there has been an approximate increase in attendance of 1-6 yr level students from 5% to 85%. Agros is trying to increase the high school attendance, which has proven to be difficult ‘breaking the mould’ due to traditional village life and customs for generations. They have created financial scholarship initiatives where families will receive monetary rewards for their children receiving an education instead of working in the fields. This system has had promising results so far.
Agros has a very successful business relationship selling the delicious snow peas to Costco for sale in the UK through Marks and Spencer. In the past only corn and beans were grown by the villagers for consumption. Agros has created the ability to work, earn an income and empowered the villagers with there own hands to build a stronger community and future for the next generations.
The Ixil region, which is one of two, operated by Agros consists of 11 villages, 40 communities equaling approximately 22,000 people. The relationship began in 1989. It was a true pleasure being hosted by Agros and I can attest to the fantastic work they have done through the donations received through GlobalGiving. Please continue to support this worthy cause.
By Scott Duncan