Our Integrated Approach

Our Goals and Approach

Our goal is to decrease the rate of chronic childhood malnutrition in children under five in rural, Mayan villages in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. We do this by using an evidence-based, integrated approach that is grounded in a synthesis of international research, results from previous project evaluations, inputs from members of local community development councils, and advice from other key informants. We focus on six integral components. Standing alone, no component can deliver its maximum benefit; when implemented in coordination, these sustainable practices will decrease chronic malnutrition and create healthy communities over time. We are not looking for short-term impacts. Rather, we work with individual communities who want long-term, sustainable change, helping them develop the capacity to achieve it.

Our Components:

  1. Mobilize and empower communities to achieve local development.
  2. Nutrition education and focus on the first 1,000 days.
  3. Increase access to water and household hygiene and sanitation (latrines and vented stoves).
  4. Ensure food security (sustainable agriculture).
  5. Increase access to family planning.
  6. Assist communities to respond to natural disasters and reduce their vulnerability to future disasters.

Nutrition Education

International evidence shows that chronic malnutrition is best addressed by interventions targeting the first 1,000 days (pregnancy and the first two years of life). Our participatory education programs and capacity-building methods focus on nutrition during pregnancy, exclusive breastfeeding for six months, the introduction of complementary foods after six months of age with continued breastfeeding until the child is at least two years, and using locally available food to prepare nutritious meals.

Our Components:

Empowering women to actively participate in community and household decision-making about community infrastructure, food production, and child care

Empowering young people to become change agents and emerging leaders in their communities

Focusing on the first 1,000 days, and encouraging exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months followed by the timely introduction of appropriate complementary foods

Assisting communities to build potable water systems that bring clean, running water to every home, reducing exposure to water-borne illnesses

Installing more efficient cook-stoves that use less firewood and reduce the indoor air pollution that causes respiratory problems and other illnesses

Building vented latrines and training communities on hygiene and sanitation

5. Gardener

Helping families to start home gardens and raise goats for milk to diversify the traditional local diet of corn and beans with animal protein, vegetables, and grains

Increasing access to information about family planning and providing family planning methods

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Strengthening community resiliency to recurring disasters