Rotary Partnership Update
Agros' Healthy Start Program in the Ixil Region Has sees great succes in year one
The following article originally appeared here: https://okcrotary.club/cause-view/world-community-service-reports/
The World Service Committee is pleased to report continuing support of the Rotary/Agros International Healthy Start program in Guatemala. Our Club first participated in this program in its inaugural year during 2020. We joined 11 other clubs from Washington, California, Colorado, Guatemala, and China. An interesting fact is this is the first project that a China club (Macau) was permitted to participate in outside of China. Club 29 has committed to continue participation in the next phase of the program which should be funded in 2022.
The Healthy Start program is operating in the Ixil region of Guatemala which was severely disadvantaged during the decades long Guatemalan civil war. The program is focused on reducing chronic child malnutrition. The primary strategies of the program include:
- Establish a network of Community Health Brigadistas to actively work in the villages to provide and promote health measures
- Provide prenatal care to pregnant women and early childhood care to children, such as immunizations
- Provide nutritional supplements in villages where food scarcity occurs
- Increase food production from local gardens for both local use and for agribusiness
The Healthy Start program was off to a successful start when two severe hurricanes hit Central American within two weeks in November 2020. Agros had team members on the ground assisting the Healthy Start communities recover from the damage, and to their credit were able to achieve the program’s first year goals despite the hurricane setbacks.
The impact of the program has gained attention in Guatemala and Agros was recently invited by the Guatemalan government to present the details of Healthy Start to key members of Congress and the Ministry of Food Security and Nutrition. Partnership and support of the government is a key long-term strategy to increasing the scale of the program and impact across the impoverished regions of the country.
The Rotary partners, including the OKC club, are committed to expanding the number of Rotary Clubs participating in Healthy Start in this next phase, and Agros is also aggressively fundraising to match the contributions made by Rotary. It is a true partnership and a program of impact. Club 29 and our Rotary District are making a difference for the people of the Ixil region.
When the day comes that COVID is manageable, Agros is planning a trip to Guatemala to visit the Healthy Start villages.
If you are a Rotary Club member and your club would like to get involved with this partnership, in alliance with the Rotary International Global Grant, please reach out to Heather Ringoen at HeatherR@agros.org.