Nutritional support for children in Guatemala

Funding required: $85,000

This project will help: 1,800 children and 1,200 caregivers from 55 Compassion centres

Estimated completion date: February 2022

Country: Guatemala

Executive summary

Chronic malnutrition among young children has been a problem in Guatemala for many years, showing very little improvement over the last two decades. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation has worsened. At the end of 2020, the National Ministry of Health reported that 27,913 children under the age of five were severely malnourished—and 50 children died due to malnutrition.

The Isaí Church in Casas Nuevas partners with Compassion to run a holistic development program for children and families living in poverty. Despite facing an intimidating crisis, the church’s hardworking staff acted quickly, reallocating sponsorship funds toward the provision of monthly food packages to all beneficiary families. They have faithfully delivered these packages to families since April 2020. However, this is not a sustainable solution to a crisis that is likely to last for many more months, if not years.

A staggering 51.2 per cent of Guatemalans live below the poverty line. Families living in poverty often lack access to proper sanitation and clean water, making children even more vulnerable to malnutrition. Caregivers are often uneducated and are unaware of the importance of implementing good hygiene practices and giving their children vitamins and supplements to support their health.

Compassion works with 206 churches across Guatemala. Early health interventions such as vaccinations and nutritional support are a key part of Compassion’s holistic development program, which aims to support children’s growth physically as well as spiritually. In fact, a two-phase intervention that provided micronutrients for children age zero to five has already been carried out among 37 church partners who are running the Survival program for moms and babies. The intervention also included training for caregivers on nutrition and good hygiene practices.

Now, 55 of our partners want to implement a third phase of this intervention to include 1,800 children age three to five. Two hundred of these children are already suffering from acute malnutrition and require immediate support. Through this intervention, children will receive powdered micronutrients to include in their daily meals. Caregivers will also receive training from a nutritionist on how to support children’s healthy eating at home and how to implement good water, sanitation and hygiene practices.

Did you know?

A whopping 43 per cent of children in Guatemala experience stunted growth as a result of malnutrition.

Summary

Background

Poverty is the greatest determinant of chronic malnutrition. With more than half the population living in poverty in Guatemala, chronic malnutrition is a long-term problem, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation much worse. The National Micronutrients Survey 2009-2010 in Guatemala concluded that 34.9 per cent of children were deficient in zinc and 80 per cent of babies age six to 11 months were iron deficient. As a result, the prevalence of anemia among babies in this age group was 46.71 per cent. The long-term impact of acute and chronic malnutrition on children’s health and well-being is nothing short of devastating. Already, 37 of Compassion’s church partners in Guatemala have implemented a two-phase intervention aimed at delivering nutritional supplements to the most vulnerable children and families and providing essential training in nutrition and hygiene practices to caregivers. These interventions have provided life-saving care to hundreds of babies and toddlers in the Survival program. Now, an expanded group of 55 church partners want to extend this intervention into a third phase that would include children age three to five, along with their families.

The need

Compassion Guatemala knows that children’s physical health and growth is a critical part of their holistic development. Thousands of children across Guatemala face an imminent crisis of health and well-being due to malnutrition. This crisis poses a serious threat to children’s health, both now and in the future.

You can help provide powdered micronutrient supplements at least four times per week for six months for 1,800 children age three to five. In addition, 200 children presenting signs of acute malnutrition will also receive additional supplementation. A total of 1,200 caregivers will also receive training from a professional nutritionist. This new knowledge will help them support their children’s health by implementing better nutrition at home as well as good hygiene practices. By providing nutritional supplements as well as training for their parents, you will be supporting these children at a critical stage in their development.

What your gift will do

Your generosity will provide nutritional support to 1,800 children and 1,200 caregivers for 6 months:

  • 1,800 boxes of Amway Little Bits powdered micronutrients per month for 6 months
  • Distribution of micronutrients to churches
  • Gift cards for 50 tutors
  • Educational materials on nutrition and hygiene practices for 1,800 children and 1,200 caregivers
  • Nutritional recovery formula for 200 children for three months
  • Nutritionist fees, monthly for four months
  • Operational implementer salary for three months
  • Incidental/Unexpected expenses

Logistics

  • Local contribution: $US2,075.23; churches will also offer their facilities for caregiver training
  • Handling of funds: Compassion Guatemala will ensure this intervention remains within budget.
  • Follow-up: Tutors from each Compassion centre will visit caregivers and children at home once a month to monitor their adherence to hygiene practices and to check children’s height and weight. A nutritionist will be hired to coordinate, implement, monitor and systematize the implementation in coordination with the Survival specialist. Final reports will be submitted to Compassion Guatemala for review.
80%

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.