Foundation helps Support Nutrition project in Guatemala

Cooking Demonstration. (1)Agroecology promoter explaining cultivation of medicinal plantsMedicinal Plants seedlingsHeight measuring.


Project 1. Community Nutrition

Child Nutrition Monitoring and Supplements

121 children under 5 years were visited at their home at least once a month by one nutrition and one agroecology promoter. They measured the height and weight of 106 children on average every month.

Children with severe chronic undernutrition was reduced from 19.81% to 16.98%.

(85.7%) of children with acute undernutrition that received supplements (Amaranth flour, and vitamins) improved their WHZ z-score. This means that 85.7% improved their nutrition score even though they did reach the threshold of normality.

Nutritional and Health Counseling for Mothers

In addition to the anthropometric measures, during the home visits nutritional promotors offered counseling to 67 mothers on average every month. The topics that were tackled in the counseling were:

1. Healthy eating plate. Promoters explained to mothers that 50% of the healthy plate should be shaped by vegetables and fruits, 25% by cereals (rice, tortilla, potatoes), and the other 25% by animal food source (poultry, eggs, cheese) or legumes (beans). They prepared some tools for explaining the plate (poster, photos) and gave the mothers examples of healthy eating plates using local and seasonally available foods.

2. Junk food. Nutrition promoters prepared and performed a theater play to explain the health impact of consumption of junk food. Also, some videos about the negative effects of this food were showed.

3. Waterborne diseases and fever. Qachuu Aloom’s nurse prepared and gave a talk about the diseases caused by drinking contaminated water. Also, she explained what a fever is, how to identify it, and natural and traditional methods to control it.

Each month the youth nutrition promoters also did cooking demonstrations using native plants from each family’s garden. The objective of these recipes was to revalorize native and wild edible plants that are available in the fields and milpas (Corn Fields), but that people don’t know are edible or how to use them. Verdolaga (purslane) and Chaya (Mayan spinach) were used to prepare different recipes: omelette with Chaya, fresh salad with purslane and beans, fruit salad with amaranth and moringa, and coffee substitute beverage using pigeon pea. These plants are drought-resistant and are very abundant during summer, even in places where it is very difficult to grow other plants because of the lack of water. Mothers were very happy with the recipes, they liked them and also some of them expressed that in the past with their grandparents they used to eat verdolaga, but they lost the tradition of eating it.

In addition to the counseling in the home visits and the cooking workshops, the nutrition and agroecology teams worked together to organize a health and nutrition fair in 6 villages. There, they talked about junk food, performed the theater play, and some recipes were demonstrated. Also, some healthy low-price products, such as amaranth flour, pigeon pea, amaranth bars, and the recipe book developed by Qachuu Aloom in 2016 were advertised and sold.

Holistic Training of youth promoters

13 youth promoters were trained in 4 different nutritional topics so they were prepared to counsel the mothers during the home visits: (1) Anthropometric assessment and Malnutrition, causes and consequences, (2) Healthy Eating Plate, Dietary Diversity, and Nutrients, (3) Nutritional properties of Qachuu Aloom’s healthy products, and (4) Revalorization of Verdolaga (purslane) and Chaya (Mayan Spinach) and health effects of consumption of junk food.

Healthy Eating Workshops in Village Schools

Finally, nutrition workshops were given to 427 students of 4 schools (Panacal, Fundacion Nueva Esperanza, Zamaneb, and Santo Domingo) by the nutritional promoters. They prepared games to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and promote the changes in behaviors. The talk was related to responsible consumption, especially about the environmental importance of consuming local and un-processed foods instead of packed and processed food, so the plastic use and garbage is reduced.

Project 2. Diet diversification through home gardens

Increase access and consumption of healthy foods

All of the mothers in the nutrition project are trained in how to start and maintain a garden. If they already had a garden, they are taught how to diversify their garden with more nutritious foods like Amaranth, Moringa, Pigeon Pea, Green beans, Mayan Spinach and others.

Community stores- healthy low cost food products

As part of this nutrition project, we have started healthy food stands that we distribute to families who run village stores out of their homes. This is to encourage the sale and consumption of healthy snacks. Qachuu Aloom makes the snacks in our office kitchen and provides them to families to re-sell. Families earn a little income from the product and village members have access to healthy snacks. The sales of Alegrias (amaranth bars) increased by 44%, probably, because we introduced new flavors of Alegrias including new ingredients: cacao, peanuts, sesame seeds and squash seed. Also, the sales of the amaranth flour increased by 28.5%, probably, because in May the nutrition promoters mainstreamed the nutritional qualities of the amaranth flour during the home visits. In addition, the sale of the recipes books empowered and motivated women to use the amaranth flour more often to cook.

Moreover, one new community store was established: Doña Gricelda Cortez Camó, who already had a convenience store, decided to start selling Qachuu Aloom’s healthy products after she became aware of the nutritional properties of our products when participating in one of the nutrition fairs we carried out.

Also, Qachuu Aloom’s marketing team carried out a survey to determine what features of the stores can be improved to increase the sales of the healthy products. One conclusion from this survey was the need of one product counter display so the presentation of the healthy products were improved and could compete with junk products from Big Companies (chips, cookies, sodas). The counter display was developed and discussed among the community stores’ owner, so the design was improved. Eleven counter displays were produced and distributed in July.

Project 3. Recovering Medicinal Plants

Utilization and Knowledge of Medicinal Plants by Mothers

In May and June we carried out a baseline questionnaire to identify the plants cultivated and used by mothers, as well as their knowledge regarding the medicinal properties of those plants

We also carried out an exchange of knowledge between QA Aloom’s staff and youth and the members of the community that know the most about medicinal plants: midwives, healer doctors, and elders. (Olga), a former scholarship student of Qachuu Aloom who is now a midwife, went to the University of New Mexico to take a summer course about Curaderismo (healing) with healers and health practitioners from the Southwest, Mexico and the Albuquerque community.

Medicinal Plant Garden at Qachuu Aloom

Also, we carried out a knowledge exchange with midwives, elders, and mothers of the communities to identify the medicinal plants that are more frequently used, preferred for treating diseases, and suited for the climate of the region. Then, the agroecology team prepared a space in the experimental center for starting the production of seedlings of medicinal plants: 2600 bags were prepared. 20 medicinal plants were selected and will be cultivated for the later distribution in the communities and the processing and selling in the community stores.

Written by nutritionist Diana, Qachuu Aloom

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Foundation donates to scholarships In Guatemala

Foundation Supports scholarships in Guatemala with Quachuu Aloom and Garden’s Edge:
Emily Sandall Foundation and Quachuu Aloom supports scholarships with the aim of strengthening the capacities and skills that young people have from a culturally sensitive perspective that values ancestral knowledge and that the students can put into practice in their personal, family and community life. This support is aimed more at young women since they are the least likely to continue their school studies in middle and high school. For this reason, the Association promotes spaces for young people to study but also develop skills in agroecology, value-added product processing, nutrition and entrepreneurial projects where they can shape their dreams. In recent years, young men have been involved in the scholarship program, but 80% of the scholarship students are girls.
The different activities carried out during the year were:

Conducting workshops with scholarship students on topics of: self-esteem, healthy and nutritious consumption, importance of the production of healthy food and native seeds so that they always have production within the family.

Youth training school: Module Themes: First module: National and regional context Second module: History and Identity Achi Third module: Gender and power relations Fourth module: Agroecology as a development strategy Fifth module: Sexual and reproductive health Sixth module: Rural entrepreneurship, management and project preparation.

ACHIEVEMENTS: At the end of the training modules, each scholarship student decided to start their own mini
project, and developed it through the trainings. These projects were; vegetable gardening, hen breeding, elaboration and sale of fabrics and production and sale of amaranth products such as “alegria” bars. Each students was given a small seed capital so that they could start their projects.

Two of the scholarships students graduated this year! One as a secretary and the other in Administration.

 Height measuring.Healthy Fair.
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Foundation Supports Shine a Light and Favela News

“Even among chaotic Brazilian cities, Recife is notable for its unfriendliness to small children, especially poor children. • Playgrounds and public spaces are almost exclusively centered in rich neighborhoods (and those in favelas are shamefully neglected); • public education is extremely poor and public day-care almost inexistent; • a high murder rate reflects quotidian violence in the streets; • transportation for children and their parents is slow, violent, and inefficient; • trash and sewage management is deplorable; • and public health care is a constant source of complaint. Over the last four and a half years of work, FavelaNews has developed an important communications and social network to offer young people symbolic alternatives to crime, showing that open-source journalism can give other possible paths to recognition and political change. With Caminhos da Primeira Infância, and in collaboration with the new Ciranda Collective (5 NGOs in Recife working to change public policy for children) we turn this social network to the challenges faced by young children and their families: discovering exactly what difficulties they face, disseminating useful solutions to other families and communities, and creating a network of parents to pressure city hall to implement policies that make Recife a more friendly city for small children.”
Kurt Shaw
Executive Director

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Happy Holidays and Thanks to our Foundation Community

Happy Holidays to our Foundation community.
Eight years ago , on a walk with Paul, I picked up a little box marked “free tree” in front of a neighborhood house. I brought it home and planted it, near our backyard fence.
It grew way too big for its surroundings. So, this is our Christmas tree! I thought that Emily would enjoy that story.
Hoping for peaceful holidays for all.Thank you for your incredible kindness to our family and love for Emily.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, christmas tree, plant and indoor
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Emily honored on Bellingham Giving Circle Website



Donation sent in loving memory of Emily Sandall 
to celebrate her life of service to those in need.

We are happy to donate these hats to you in honor of Emily Sandall. We are donating 11 wool hats from Nepal . Emily would love this idea. She worked at a school in Nepal and helped to support them through high school and college. It is a free school for children that would be vulnerable to child labor. We have helped support the school for the last 11 years. Emily passed away 11 years ago in a hiking accident. She dedicated her high school, college years and beyond to humanitarian causes around the world. She believed strongly in the importance of education to insure that you have a voice and the skills to pursue your passions.

We hope that you enjoy the hats and that you work hard in school towards your future goals.

Becky Sandall

Emily Sandall Foundation

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