~ Sarah Montgomery, Director of The Garden's Edge
Qachuu Aloom has been working in the region since 2007 to promote home gardens. After partnering with a local nutritionist and nurse, Qachuu Aloom was surprised to learn that the levels of malnutrition were still high among families in their program.
They learned that families with gardens were not necessarily cultivating crops high enough in protein and zinc, which are essential for childhood development. The Garden’s Edge staff also learned that families were not stagger-planting, so after a few harvests, the plants were no longer producing and families had to replant and wait months before crops were available again.
The Garden’s Edge and Qachuu Aloom now work closely with mothers to address these issues and ensure that the gardens are improving the health and nutrition of their children. With funding from Vibrant Village, Garden's Edge is working in four indigenous Maya communities, Chichupac, Pahoj, San Fransisco, and Los Flores (total population 610) to provide monthly health assessments, nutrition, hygiene and gardening classes, surplus food transformation, and other educational initiatives.
- Provide monthly health assessment for 90 mothers and their children.
- Train 90 mothers in new cooking methods, hygiene, and gardening skills
- Train 5 junior health workers in health assessment practices and nutrition promotion activities
- Train 15 young women in sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and leadership
- Help 120 women diversify their home gardens with high-protein crops, and train them in soil conservation techniques and agro-ecology.
- Host nutrition and gardening classes in two local schools serving 380 students
- Produce a bi-monthly radio program on nutrition and sustainable agriculture reaching 5,000 villagers