We are often asked about malnutrition in Guatemala and if the situation is really as dire as people have heard. Headlines like, “Why Guatemala is one of the worst places in the world to be a child,” as published by The Telegraph in 2015, feel sensationalist, but are they really?
In a word: No.
Following a 36 year civil conflict that has been ruled to be genocide, the poverty and malnutrition situation in the country is dire.
- Guatemala has the 6th highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world, at 47% nationally
- In indigenous areas, in the highlands, that rate goes up to 70%
- In peak regions, malnutrition rates soar to as high as 90%
- Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in Latin America
- Two thirds of the population live on less than $2 a day
The first 1000 days of life, from conception to about age three, are vital in the fight against chronic malnutrition. If pregnant and nursing mothers do not receive adequate nutrition, their babies will be born malnourished and may never fully recover.
This is why Konojel focuses our efforts on pregnant and nursing mothers, offering them a place in our daily nutrition program and offering education that will help them to make sure their children have the best chance and healthy growth.
How can you help?
- Donate to Konojel: $52 USD provides a child with nutritious meals for a month
- Spread the word: Share this post and follow us on Facebook and Instagram
- Eat at our restaurant: If you’re in San Marcos, eat at Konojel’s restaurant, all proceeds go to supporting our programs
- Buy our products: The micro-business provides income for mothers and the proceeds support the nutrition program
The video at the bottom of this page was made by David Mercer, an Al Jazeera journalist who lived in San Marcos La Laguna for several years. It features the Mayan Health Alliance, a nutrition program that operates in the district of Chimaltenango, battling the same problems that we are here, in our community.