Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenango
$24,366 needed of $183,660
Church World Service (CWS)
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
Building a Future Through Training & Support
The first thing Josefa does each morning after rising, praying, preparing breakfast and cleaning the house is to look over her garden. She spends most of her day tending her vegetables because they allow her to give her children nutritious meals, and whatever she brings in at the local farmers market from selling her surplus helps her cover a lot of other household expenses.
Hers is one of 490 families receiving training, encouragement, love and in-kind support from local partner CIEDEG. In addition to seeds and plants, families may receive chemical and organic inputs to prepare fertilizers; materials to rebuild or maintain their greenhouses; irrigation systems; fertilizer spraying equipment; and organic or chemical pesticides. Many also opt to receive instruction on issues such as human rights, women’s rights, food safety, or sanitation and hygiene.
Regardless of the weather, Josefa and four other women from her village go to their communal garden and greenhouse to work, wearing the Maya Ixil skirts and blouses which, with their bright embroidery, reveal which community they belong to. “We are happy,” says Josefa. “It has been a good harvest. In the greenhouse, we have tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, and cucumbers this season.”
In another village, Rosa’s family received a piglet two years ago in addition to seeds. Through the pass-on-the-gift initiative, she gave another family a piglet and now has three pigs. Pass-on-the-gift participants may choose to receive a chicken or sheep instead, though the agreement is the same: distribute one of its offspring to others who can then begin their own breeding and sales operations.
“I have learned a lot,” Rosa says. Though she did not have the opportunity to study, she’s proud that her daughters have already entered school.
Guatemala Nebaj Quetzaltenango Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partner CIEDEG