Guatemala is located in Central America, with borders of Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The country has an overall population of nearly 15 million people, and faces a chronic malnutrition rate for children under 5 of about 50%, which is incredibly high. In fact, the malnutrition rates of children in Guatemala are the 4th highest in the entire world. Guatemala helps account for a high amount of stunting, which is the inability to grow; as in, children are unable to fully grow due to lack of nutrition and proper food. In indigenous areas of Guatemala, chronic undernutrition affects about 70% of the population. Overall, over half of Guatemalans (53%) live in poverty, and about 13% live in extreme poverty. Children and women have the worst of it. There is also food insecurity and economic insecurity. Clearly, something needs to be done in order to reduce malnutrition within the country and to reduce the incredibly high rate of child mortality and stunting.

Save the Children is an organization that just launched a milk program in Guatemala in order to fight the chronic malnutrition. Save the Children fights for the rights and lives of vulnerable children and families; the organization takes part in several focus areas including emergency relief and long-term recovery programs. So far, Save the Children has help over 125 million children in almost 120 countries by working with partners and running programs to help them have better access to food and water, and to fight for their rights. Save the Children’s priorities are to “ensure that children in need are safe, educated and healthy, and are better to attain their rights.” In the case of the milk program in Guatemala, the program is meant to help children be healthy, which would result in giving them a better chance at life and success as they grow older.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. is Save the Children’s partner in the milk program in Guatemala, and so is USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. GMCR has award-winning coffee and is the creater of the popular Keurig brewing technology. Most importantly in the context of this article, they have business practices that reflect Corporate Social Responsibility. They aim to give their customers “convenience, variety and consistent great taste.” They were founded 32 years ago, and have recently released their 2012 sustainability report. Basically, GMCR wants to give back to the community, both in North America and the entire world. They have a business – “Brewing a Better World Together” – and wish to improve the world through it. Part of the way they are doing this is by supporting the milk program in Guatemala.

Together, Save the Children and GMCR launched the milk program in Guatemala; they opened a goat-raising center in Guatemala so that the goat milk program can fight child malnutrition. This center will raise goats in order to get goat milk, which will then be distributed to the families that are facing chronic, extreme malnutrition. In all, over 2,000 families will benefit from the goat milk program. In addition to the goat-raising center, Save the Children and GMCR will provide education of making money and sustainability; they will educate the families about selling surplus milk, and of making cheese and yogurt from the milk. The USAID Mission Director Kevin Kelly commented that the goat center would “generate income and food security among the extreme poor in Gatemala’s Western Highlands.” This center is just one small step towards fighting malnutrition in Guatemala.

– Corina Balsamo 
Sources: The Examiner, GMCR, Save the Children, World Food Programme
Photo: Universal Giving