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Plan tops NGOs chosen to fight poverty in the Americas

A girl preparing corn in Guatemala
A girl preparing corn in Guatemala
August 21, 2012

Plan will receive $1.5 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to improve food security and nutrition among indigenous children and women in Guatemala.

Plan has been allocated the largest share of $7 million committed by IDB to seven civil society organizations in the Americas region for projects targeted at benefiting vulnerable groups and low income communities. The money has been provided by the Japanese government and is managed by the IDB.

The Bank received close to 1900 proposals from 26 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and carried out a thorough evaluation process. The final selection was made by officials at Japan Special Fund Poverty Reduction Program.

“To be awarded the largest share of funding is recognition of Plan’s groundbreaking work in reducing child-poverty among socially excluded communities in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 50 years of our organization’s presence in the continent,” said Roland Angerer, Plan Regional Director for the Americas.

Plan’s food and nutrition project in Guatemala will run in five municipalities of Baja Verapaz province over the next four years. The organization has worked in the area for 15 years where about half the population of over 270,000 is indigenous.

Malnutrition and food security are among the main issues affecting indigenous communities. Over 65 percent of the entire indigenous population in Guatemala suffers from chronic malnutrition. Children in particular are most susceptible to malnutrition. In Baja Verapaz, successive crop losses have resulted in a further increase in cases of malnutrition among children, mainly caused by unstable food supplies and lack of diversity in the diet.

“Through latest funding Plan will be able to reach nearly 2000 families in 77 indigenous communities in Baja Verapaz. Children under the age of 5 and those diagnosed with acute or chronic malnutrition will be a major priority,” said Debora Cobar, Country Director of Plan in Guatemala.

One of the key objectives of the project will be to increase food availability and access through faming activities and income generation. This will include increasing the production of grains and improving food variety through use of family gardens.

“Plan will work towards achieving a target where all participating families increase their grain production by half during the term of the project,” said Cobar. “Additionally, education will be a key aspect of community work where indigenous families will learn about diet and nutrition, hygiene practices and early health warning signs.”