Guatemala Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenango

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$85,020 needed of $185,000

Implementing Organization

Christian Church (DOC) WOC, Church World Service (CWS)

Program Summary

The Western Highlands of Guatemala have some of the highest levels of child malnutrition and stunting in the world. Indigenous communities continue to suffer from the injustices of armed conflict and the lack of governmental investment in their communities.
This program works to repair the social fabric that was destroyed in the conflict by bringing women in together in vegetable gardening programs. As women work together in greenhouses, they are able to earn an income through the sales of their vegetable crops. Working together allows them to farm larger plots and also helps them to see the challenges facing their communities and identify solutions. In some communities women from the program have even been elected to local public office. This program helps women to meet the immediate needs of their families and also address systemic, deep-rooted issues.
The program is implemented in three regions of Guatemala: Totonicapán, Nebaj, and San Martín Sacatepéquez.

Success Stories

Celebratory Food Fairs Serve an Important Purpose

Nine program families sold a wide array of home-grown produce to guests at a food fair sponsored recently by local partner CIEDEG. Fruits like peaches and passion fruit. Vegetables galore, including celery, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, radishes, avocado, green onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers. Medicinal herbs and fresh-cut flowers. The beauty of the offerings wowed guests, as did the availability of so much variety in their own community.

These fairs are an important and effective a way to recognize and celebrate the hard work of the women involved in the program who grow this food with help and encouragement from CIEDEG.  As families become more food secure, the food fairs give them an opportunity to share what they have learned with others, and to sell the results of their labor.

The well-attended events also help build bridges between participating communities and the public sector. Speakers get issues – of food availability and access, clean water, infrastructure and environment – in front of invited local authorities and others who make decisions on the issues. Petrona, a leader in her community, joined a panel discussion that addressed the needs of the people. “Many children aren’t getting the nutrition they need. That’s why vegetable gardens are so important.”

She encouraged her listeners to be wary of relying on processed foods, and to remember the importance of a balanced diet for overall wellness. She described growing lots of different vegetables organically to make sure children had the highest-quality food available to them, and noted that families also earned income by selling what they don’t eat.

Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenango

Led by Church World Service and Local Partner CIEDEG

12/18

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