Nutrition and Health

Imagine watching your child die due to poverty; simply due to lack of nutritious food or having to give a child up for adoption because you cannot afford to feed them.  Imagine what it would be like to determine who eats first and who eats most in a family: the father because he is the provider, the mother because she is pregnant or nursing, the young children because they are growing?  People in Alta Verapaz Guatemala are forced to make these choices every day.  In Guatemala the majority of the Maya in the remote villagers live below the poverty line of $1.00-$2.00 per day. Parents helplessly watch their children die due to conditions relating to malnutrition. The situation is primarily due to the international crisis of 2001 that put 90% of the coffee plantations workers out of work which was virtually 100% of the villagers. What do people do in isolated mountain villages when their only source of income suddenly stops?

Our primary partner in nutrition is the NARU Nutrition Project.  NARU is the first NGO WL partnered with.  We have been working together for 8 years.  We should note that due to the severe levels of poverty and malnutrition, all of our partners provide some support in nutrition and health.

NARU nutrition programs are geared to alleviating severe and moderate malnutrition in over 100 villages where they provide food supplements to over 200 malnourished.  They also provide education and training to help the beneficiaries’ families improve their health and nutritional status. 

Oscar, NARU’s outreach worker and health trainer, travels several hours by public bus then walks 2 to 3 hours through often dangerous isolated areas to provide help for the families: training, supplements, medical transport and support. 


  • Administration of the project
  • Provides a local health worker who:
    • Identifies families in need (focusing primarily on severely and moderately malnourished children)
    • Makes regular visits to families providing training in health, sanitation and nutrition
    • Trains families and provides supplies for family gardens
    • Insures families have access to medical care
  • Food supplements
    • Provides culturally acceptable food supplement (Incaparina) focusing on children from 2 to 5 years of age
  • Milk supplements for newborns
    • Provided only to infants who do not have access to a mother’s milk

How we leverage:

  • NARU provides all administrative and organizational management
  • WLP’s pays the salary for the health promoter
  • WLP’s in conjunction with partners provides funding for food supplements
  • WLP’s provides funding for milk project
  • Miracles in Action and Charity Anywhere are partners and provide additional funding for supplements for milk project
  • WLP’s donated  over $10,000 to NARU in 2013

What we need and costs:

  • Funding for supplements (Incaparina):
      For 75 children 3 X's a day every day $1,575.00
  • Milk for newborns:
      10 infants for 13 weeks $1,560.00
  • Health technician (Oscar) for 3 months:
      Includes travel expenses, housing $1,500.00
  • Food production
      Family gardens, fencing, seeds, rental of ground $580.00
Small scale agriculture:

It is not unusual for our on-site director to visit huts where there is no food on the shelves.  One family they interviewed had not had anything substantial to eat for 4 days, the father was dead, and the mother was earning 75 cents a day. 

The advantages of establishing gardens include more nutritious diets, possible income by marketing of produce, promotes self-esteem and independence, and is sustainable.  Land is available, costs for fencing and garden supplies are minor, and skilled agronomists for training are providing training.

We are working in Guatemala in agriculture where farmers are trained how to improve farming techniques such as terracing the rugged landscape, water management and raising livestock.

In 2014 we have 182 families who have received training, received supplies and seeds and established gardens.

How we leverage:

  • NARU and Choice provide oversight, and management
  • WLP’s provides funding for garden supplies and training
  • Villagers provide the land and labor

What we need and what it costs:

  • One garden costs $75