Seeds for a Future and Nutrition Education
Poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition in Guatemala are so closely entwined it scarcely makes sense to ask which is the cause and which are the effects. And these evils are transgenerational – men and women affected by malnutrition and poverty during their early years carry physical and mental impacts which extend to their own children.
Many families are trapped in this self-perpetuating cycle of poverty and malnutrition from which it is very difficult to break free. But it is possible.
Overcoming such entangled problems requires an integrated multi-faceted solution, such as the Seeds for a Future Program. However, perhaps the most fundamental force of the Seeds program is nutrition.
Good nutrition for mother and infant produces life-long benefits of better mental and physical development.
For adults, good nutrition results in better health, energy, and learning capacity which means more ability to build food security and develop income sources.
Our family coaching program begins with permaculture strategies for producing nutritious plant and animal foods at home, affordably and sustainably.
As food production methods are established, our team’s weekly visits begin to include information on nutrition -- what it is, how various nutrients benefit the body, what foods supply which types of nutrition, how better nutrition will help their children and other family members have better lives.
We also help families use their home-grown nutrition in daily meals.
Staff and families have jointly created several recipe books to share among participating families.
Most of the recipes are for familiar local dishes, enhanced with the addition of nutrition-packed foods.
The First 1,000 Days of Life
While good nutrition is always important, it is absolutely vital during the First 1,000 Days of life -- from the start of pregnancy to the baby’s second birthday. The right nutrition during this period influences not only whether the child will survive, but also his or her ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty.
Our program teaches women of child-bearing age how to achieve good nutrition for both mother and baby for the First 1,000 Days, and how this will impact the lives and futures of their children. In addition, mothers learn how good nutrition will help their own health during their pregnancy and breastfeeding, so they will remain strong and capable for themselves and their families.
When families have stable access to sufficient food, and when that food is nutritious and healthful, all family members can contribute their share to the creation of a better more successful future for their family, their community, and for Guatemala.
The INCAP Research Study
Because of the unique approach of the Seeds for a Future Program, during 2014 – 2017, an internationally-funded research study by the Institute for Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) scientifically documented the success of the Seeds for a Future’s program.
“In conclusion, this study provides evidence that an integrated approach involving health, nutrition, and agriculture with a duration of at least twelve months of follow up may have a significant positive impact in nutrition outcomes, especially in hemoglobin and iron status biomarkers, of mothers and children under five years of age in rural populations.”
Follow-up interviews showed an extraordinary level of sustainability – more than 80% of study participants reported they continued one or more actions they had learned from the Seeds for a Future program.
Download the Incap Study here.
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