Cargill: Improving Nutrition Education in Guatemala

Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Founded in 1865, Cargill today employs 142,000 people in 67 countries.

In Guatemala, more than half of the population (51 percent) lives in rural areas. Agriculture plays an important role in Guatemala’s economy, accounting for a fifth of the country’s GDP and 40 percent of employment (FAO).

Chronic malnutrition among children is the main effect of food insecurity in vulnerable households. Factors include inadequate access to assets: land, credit, education, housing, goods, basic services, limited incomes of households all of which result in poor diet and inadequate dietary practices.

Given the extent of the malnutrition issue, Guatemala is one of the priority countries for the Nutriendo el Futuro (Nourishing the Future) initiative, Cargill’s corporate responsibility program for Central America which was established in September 2012.

Nutriendo el Futuro includes the partnership with CARE’s Integrated Program for Vulnerable Children in Central America (EDUCAN) which has been helping children fulfil their rights to quality education and adequate nutrition. In its first phase between 2009 and 2013, actions have been focused on education, health and nutrition and income generation. The program in Central America has supported over 24,000 children to improve their knowledge of nutrition and 9,500 parents have engaged in the education and nutritional health of their children

Since 2009, the EDUCAN program in Guatemala has focused on rural communities of two municipalities Huitán and Nahualá in the departments of Quetzaltenango and Sololá.  In delivering various nutrition sensitive activities, more than 6400 children have benefited from the implementation of the national nutritional food education strategy in schools including teacher training, school gardens, improved school kitchens and knowledge of nutrition.  In addition the program has supported 1100 producer households organized in 39 associations through technical support to increase the quality and quantity of their crops and livestock; build their competitiveness in the marketplace, and improve the diversity and quality of their food sources. The program has also helped identify new markets for participants’ agricultural and livestock products. As a result over 900 producers have increased their incomes.

Working with other stakeholders, particularly the local governments and government entities

For each element within EDUCAN in Guatemala, it was critical to ensure the support and involvement of the local and central Ministries of Education, Health and Agriculture. In particular, the Ministry of Agriculture helped to assure the results in the projects with community producers. All of these Ministries offered technical staff to help measure the impact and improvement that EDUCAN has achieved since the beginning of the program.  This also involved the local education authorities and municipality teams working with CARE staff to provide the training sessions and helping with various events to engage the local communities.

Next steps
Cargill and CARE will develop new opportunities to work in Guatemala over the next three years (2014 – 2016) to expand the Nutriendo el Futuro  program, targeting 6,000 households and 14,000 children in three municipalities located near to Cargill’s operations in the country.   Activities will focus on Nutrition sensitive activities in agriculture related to improved value chains and food and nutritional security, and in close coordination with other stakeholders including municipal governments and Ministries.

Cargill: Improving Nutrition Education in Guatemala

Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Founded in 1865, Cargill today employs 142,000 people in 67 countries.

In Guatemala, more than half of the population (51 percent) lives in rural areas. Agriculture plays an important role in Guatemala’s economy, accounting for a fifth of the country’s GDP and 40 percent of employment (FAO).

Chronic malnutrition among children is the main effect of food insecurity in vulnerable households. Factors include inadequate access to assets: land, credit, education, housing, goods, basic services, limited incomes of households all of which result in poor diet and inadequate dietary practices.

Given the extent of the malnutrition issue, Guatemala is one of the priority countries for the Nutriendo el Futuro (Nourishing the Future) initiative, Cargill’s corporate responsibility program for Central America which was established in September 2012.

Nutriendo el Futuro includes the partnership with CARE’s Integrated Program for Vulnerable Children in Central America (EDUCAN) which has been helping children fulfil their rights to quality education and adequate nutrition. In its first phase between 2009 and 2013, actions have been focused on education, health and nutrition and income generation. The program in Central America has supported over 24,000 children to improve their knowledge of nutrition and 9,500 parents have engaged in the education and nutritional health of their children

Since 2009, the EDUCAN program in Guatemala has focused on rural communities of two municipalities Huitán and Nahualá in the departments of Quetzaltenango and Sololá.  In delivering various nutrition sensitive activities, more than 6400 children have benefited from the implementation of the national nutritional food education strategy in schools including teacher training, school gardens, improved school kitchens and knowledge of nutrition.  In addition the program has supported 1100 producer households organized in 39 associations through technical support to increase the quality and quantity of their crops and livestock; build their competitiveness in the marketplace, and improve the diversity and quality of their food sources. The program has also helped identify new markets for participants’ agricultural and livestock products. As a result over 900 producers have increased their incomes.

Working with other stakeholders, particularly the local governments and government entities

For each element within EDUCAN in Guatemala, it was critical to ensure the support and involvement of the local and central Ministries of Education, Health and Agriculture. In particular, the Ministry of Agriculture helped to assure the results in the projects with community producers. All of these Ministries offered technical staff to help measure the impact and improvement that EDUCAN has achieved since the beginning of the program.  This also involved the local education authorities and municipality teams working with CARE staff to provide the training sessions and helping with various events to engage the local communities.

Next steps
Cargill and CARE will develop new opportunities to work in Guatemala over the next three years (2014 – 2016) to expand the Nutriendo el Futuro  program, targeting 6,000 households and 14,000 children in three municipalities located near to Cargill’s operations in the country.   Activities will focus on Nutrition sensitive activities in agriculture related to improved value chains and food and nutritional security, and in close coordination with other stakeholders including municipal governments and Ministries.

CASE STUDIES
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CASE STUDIES
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