Marta Alicia Choc-Cal is a young leader, volunteering time to make a difference for the health of her own daughter and her neighbors’ children. Marta is actively involved in a four-year pilot project to address the high rates of stunting in Guatemala. Simply defined as below-average height for age, stunting is actually a result of malnutrition and other factors that has complicated and lifelong negative impacts on children who suffer from it. Two years ago, I wrote about our intentions to respond to the issue with ADIP, an indigenous association and long-time partner of World Renew. Recently I had the privilege of returning to the area where ADIP works to witness the new learning there.
Marta is actively involved in a four-year pilot project to address the high rates of stunting in Guatemala.
Simply defined as below-average height for age, stunting is actually a result of malnutrition and other factors that has complicated and lifelong negative impacts on children who suffer from it.
Two years ago, I wrote about our intentions to respond to the issue with ADIP, an indigenous association and long-time partner of World Renew. Recently I had the privilege of returning to the area where ADIP works to witness the new learning there.
In the villages I visited, including Concepción Actelá where Marta lives, the leaders had drawn a map of the community that included every home. They divided the community into sectors of similar size and recruited 2-4 women in each sector willing to be “mother leaders.” Mother leaders like Marta then identified homes with pregnant mothers and children under two years of age, the main focus of this program that targets chronic malnutrition during the critical first 1,000 days of life (conception to two years) through nutrition, hygiene, and health-care practices.
Marta attends training with the other mother leaders and then replicates the training with the neighbors in her sector.
She visits the homes of the mothers of small children, encouraging them in adequate hygiene, exclusive breastfeeding, and nutrition. During my visit, Marta taught a small group of neighbors how to make an oral rehydration solution to use when their children have diarrhea. The solution, made from ingredients found in most homes, is a welcome low-cost alternative, since the community has no pharmacy. The mothers took turns measuring ingredients and tasting the final product. The fellowship in these meetings, usually focused on how to maintain the health of the small children, is almost as important for the mothers and their children as the training that is shared.
In addition to training and support from the mother leaders, the program has enabled many of the families to build low-cost latrines and raise poultry to increase the amount of protein eaten by pregnant mothers and children over six months.
Marta is supported in her efforts by her husband, Marco Tulio. Together, they’ve planted a vegetable garden to vary their diet, they’ve built a latrine, and they’re raising chickens. But perhaps the most important thing is that they are sharing what they’ve learned with their neighbors.
Please join us in prayer:
- Praise God for advancements in the maternal and newborn pilot project. Pray that there is adequate coordination with ADIP’s other staff and programs, and that young children will be free from chronic malnutrition and stunting.
- Praise God that Ashley is recovering well from January’s knee surgery. She is completing her final sessions of physical therapy, and in the last few weeks has “thrown away” her crutches. She and those who work with her—Caspar, Emily and the mentors—are all glad for this progress.
- We’re thankful for all the wonderful pictures we receive of our grandson, Odin, but especially that we’re planning to visit him (and his parents) at the end of this month.
- In Honduras, we’re thankful that violent political demonstrations calmed down after inauguration day in late January. Nevertheless, we recognize that polarization is still bubbling beneath the surface, with both sides accusing the other of corruption, and things could erupt with little provocation. Pray for real dialogue within the country, with genuine checks and balances to keep corruption at bay. More importantly, pray that the hearts of leaders will be touched, that they would serve for the good of the people who elected them.
- Caspar continues to experience lower back pain and occasional numbness in his legs due to the compression of his spine. A recent check-in with his surgeon indicates no worsening, but no improvement. He is still unable to travel off of smooth pavement, which is quite limiting. However, the doctor encouraged him to begin some specific, very low-impact physical therapy and he has an appointment to begin this month. Pray that there is some relief from the pain and that he is able to prevent further injury.
- The new program year for both Resonate and World Renew starts in July, so we are working with our partners on plans and budgets, as well as some new ideas for integrating programs and for scaling up. Pray with us that these will become a reality.
World Renew Latin America