We implement economic development projects with woman in our partner communities that serve a variety of purposes: Most importantly, they provide sources of protein for families to increase dietary diversity and improve their nutritional status. In addition, these projects can create income streams for participating women that can be used to purchase nutritious foods or other necessities for daily life, reducing economic pressures on their families. Some of our economic development projects include laying hens, dairy goats, and rabbits. Each of these options diversifies nutritional inputs and surpluses can be sold to supplement families’ incomes. As animal populations grow, so does the scale of the benefits they provide. A project started with one family will grow to incorporate neighbors and benefit the larger community. We are ringing in the new year with success and some great examples of how quickly these projects expand: newborn bunnies, baby goats, and eggs from laying hens!
These aren’t the only economic development projects we support in our partner communities; we also work with youth to train the next generation of community leaders and entrepreneurs by supporting the creation of small businesses designed and run by youth. One of our latest examples comes from Tonajuyu, in the municipality of Chimaltenango, where a group of youths opened a stationary store to provide school supplies to students in the community. These businesses help participants learn to design and implement projects, create and maintain relationships with partners, customers, and vendors, develop leadership skills, and manage finances. Profits generated from these businesses are reinvested in the business and help to supplement the income of participants’ families. Informed, experienced, and empowered youth with sustainable economic opportunities spells a future with strong communities free of chronic malnutrition.