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Guatemala Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenango

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$91,299 needed of $186,326

Implementing Organization

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 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 the regions of Nebaj, and San Martín Sacatepéquez.

Greenhouses Help Guatemalan Families Thrive

Success Stories

Greenhouse Makes a Difference During Pandemic

Juana says “I feel happy about the work we do because, even during this pandemic, I can grow enough food – good food – and keep my family safe and healthy.”

She and her husband, Jacinto, have always been resourceful. When they married, they opened a small grocery out of their home, and with hard work were later able to purchase the land they live on. In addition, Juana is a weaver of güipiles, the colorful blouses worn by Mayan women, which she sells in the community.

She joined the food security and nutrition program in 2014 when local partners CIEDEG and CODI were taking weight and height measurements of children under five in her community. At that time, says Juana, “We only grew corn, and we had to buy whatever else we needed in small quantities in the market.” She and her neighbors received training on how to grow vegetables and were given seeds. Since then, they’ve planted such cold-tolerant crops as cabbages, beets, chard, carrots, coriander, squash and potatoes on their own plots of land. A focus on nutrition ensures that the families know how to prepare well balanced meals.

Three years ago, Juana and a group of five women received support to build a greenhouse for more cold-sensitive vegetables. She is in charge of the greenhouse, and the women work together to grow a variety of foods both in the greenhouse and in their gardens. They have enough for their families, and extra to sell in the local market. During the pandemic, they have not even had to buy beans thanks to the harvest from the greenhouse. Because the municipality, CIEDEG, CODI and individuals have strictly observed COVID-19 guidelines, the incidence of the virus has been relatively low in the area.

Guatemala Nebaj Queltzaltenango Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partners CIEDEG and CODI

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