Through its Corporate Social Responsibility Program, Frutera contributes to improving the food and nutritional security of the population in southwestern Guatemala, and the achievement of the country’s Millennium Development Goals.
Guatemala, November 2011. For the past two years Frutera has been implementing the Better Families program in 4 rural communities in the south coast of the country. A self-help program, Better Families focuses on improving the health conditions, nutrition and social behavior among beneficiary families. Among its goals are to reduce malnutrition and infant mortality rates, improve school performance among boys and girls, as well as to improve productivity and community development. To date 3,000 people have benefited from this program, including 360 mothers and 350 children under five years old.
Better Families targets women directly, who after training become relays of important information within their families and their communities. They learn about self esteem, health, hygiene, nutrition, care for the environment and child growth, among other topics. To verify knowledge competence program technical staff make periodic home visits, where they also conduct weight and height measurements of children under five years of age, and learned practices are reinforced with activities such as medical and gynecological fairs involving the whole community.
Walter Tello, program coordinator, noted that he has observed significant changes in the communities where Better Families is implemented. Beneficiary families have shown to have improved health habits, including the increased use of safe water for consumption. Also, the program has improved the capacity of participating mothers to make better decisions regarding their family’s health, which has resulted in fewer cases of diarrheal diseases and lower maternal and infant mortality rates. With improved self-esteem, women are better able to identify early the symptoms of breast and cervical cancer, as well as to improve the nutritional intake of their children’s diet.
Frutera also provides assistance to special cases of child malnutrition, offering medical help, food and care during their convalescence.