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The Starbucks Foundation and World Neighbors Work to Empower Women in Huehuetenango, Guatemala

The Starbucks Foundation and World Neighbors Work to Empower Women in Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Thanks to a generous grant from The Starbucks Foundation, a year ago, World Neighbors (WN) started a new program, Increasing Food, Health, Water, Sanitation and Financial Security for Coffee Growers in the Department of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. WN is helping 3,000 rural families in 30 coffee-growing communities in Chiantla, San Pedro Necta and La Libertad to improve their living conditions, food security and livelihoods.

Through trainings in improved agricultural practices, water purification techniques, sanitation, hygiene, financial literacy and the formation of savings and credit groups, these communities are improving their health and economic well-being. Women in these communities are starting small businesses to bring in extra income for their families. WN is providing trainings on nutrition and teaching the families how to build their own gardens with an emphasis on nutritious local crops. The families are also being taught how to make and use organic fertilizer and pesticides.

In addition, the families are being taught how to build smokeless stoves. All of these trainings will help to improve the quality of their lives by reducing many respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses which are especially severe among children.

Here is a sampling of some of the impressive achievements in the first year:

  • 525 heads of households have diversified their diets in 30 communities.  They were able to do this by growing more nutritious food in their own gardens (which also saves them money since they do not have to buy their vegetables any more)
  • 350 home gardens were installed by community members in the 30 communities.
  • 200 families are now using purified water from their new bio-sand water filters
  • 75 families are using improved smokeless stoves
  • 125 families were trained in the construction and maintenance of smokeless stoves

Women are gaining economic power through the formation of savings and credit groups and they are findings these trainings very helpful.  Several women commented:

Trinidad Gomez “With a loan from the savings and credit group I have been able to purchase more supplies to make baskets to sell for extra income to help my family. My children have a lot of fun helping me make them and my family is much healthier now that we have learned about safe water and better hygiene.”

Marina Lopez “I received a small loan from the savings and credit group to purchase some ducklings and chicks to start a poultry farm. Selling their offspring is going to increase our family income.”

Martha Aguilar “I have a small grocery store and a loan from the savings and credit group has helped me to improve my store. Also, I have discovered that I am good at providing the women in my community with trainings that I have received from WN.  I am enjoying helping to empower these women.”

WN and the partners in Huehuetenango wish to thank The Starbucks Foundation for their generous support and belief in the WN holistic model of helping people to help themselves!

Trinidad Gomez
Mariana Lopez
Martha Aguilar