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Our Integrated Approach

Nutrition Education

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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.

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Disaster Risk Reduction

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The premise of our climate change strategy is action, not reaction.  We are working with communities in adapting our processes to new weather realities so that emergency response doesn’t become our modus operandi.  Our new Disaster Reduction Activities (DRR) plan draws on and adapts existing tools and methodologies.

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Empowerment

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ALDEA strives to mobilize the entire community to address health issues. We are especially focused on empowering women and youth to participate more fully in the local development process. We use a capacity-building methodology to analyze community needs and define the local activities and partners to solve the problems.

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Family Planning

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The right to determine the number and spacing of one’s children is a fundamental right and is also enshrined in the Guatemalan Constitution. The possibility of having a smaller family with well-spaced births has both direct and indirect effects on nutrition and the social development of children less than five years of age. High birth rates contribute to large total family size and closely spaced births, and are an indirect contributor to chronic malnutrition.

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Food Security

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According to the United Nations, Guatemala is the second most vulnerable country in the world to global climate change; this makes work on adaptation indispensable. We are introducing ecologically sustainable agriculture techniques to improve the production of basic grains such as corn and beans through the use of more sustainable fertilizing practices; improving soil quality and soil preservation; reducing harvest-related risks; and using seeds that are less susceptible to the effects of climate change. Goats are being introduced for their milk, a good source of animal proteins.

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Monitoring & Evaluation

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Continuous monitoring and evaluation both ensures that the programs are doing what they have planned and that the activities are having the desired results. In addition to a continuous oversight to ensure that the activities are being conducted as planned, the program has identified a set of key results related to the outcomes we are striving to achieve.

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Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

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We work with communities to design the most appropriate water and sanitation solution for that community based on an environmental assessment and what the community wants.  Potable water is an essential component in our fight against malnutrition. Water-borne illnesses such as diarrhea can be fatal, especially to children suffering from chronic malnutrition. Sanitary and hygienic homes offer healthier environments for families.

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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.

Our integrated approach:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Strengthening community resiliency to recurring disasters

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