Malnutrition is a serious issue in Guatemala. Guatemala has the fourth highest malnutrition rate for children under 5 years old in the world.
Adonai International Ministries has a heart for those without sufficient nutrition since the Ficker family was living in San Andrés working in a children's home. The nutritional issues present in Guatemala are staggering, and they contribute in various ways to many medical cases seen in AIM's clinics. AIM has a heart for preventative methods, which is seen in the Agriculture division of AIM. In addition to these long-term methods, there have to be practices that address these issues now, not just 10 years or 20 years down the road. These nutritional programs are designed with that goal in mind.
Here is a video that was made a few years ago that details some of AIM's heart in the area of malnutrition.
The Widows Project
AIM's Widows Project targets at-risk widows, specifically those living around the location of the weekly Chiminisijuan clinic. The goal of the project is to help provide a source of income to the widows and their families so that they can buy food. In the indigenous cultures of Guatemala, women are not viewed as equal to men, and therefore widows in such a society are disadvantaged and lack opportunity. AIM teaches the women to make baskets and then purchases those baskets for a fair price. These baskets are then available for a suggested donation to all who would like to support the project. The donations go to the basket purchase as well as food and other supplies for the widows.
As a part of the Widows Project, AIM has been selecting many of the widows as candidates for the Goat Project. Because of the widows' extreme level of poverty, opportunities such as these are ways for families to survive and greatly improve their own living conditions. Different short-term teams have helped to build shelters for the goats that the widows are shepherding, and AIM plans to continue growing in this area of both nutrition and outreach.
AIM sees many cases in clinics that have to do with malnutrition. As mentioned above, Guatemala has an extraordinarily high rate of malnutrition in children under 5. This state of malnutrition is very dangerous, as these are formative years for brain development. Guatemalans, especially indigenous groups, breastfeed much longer than what is considered normal in the United States, continuing until the child is 2 or 3 years old. To further complicate the issue of nutrition, many women will become pregnant very quickly after having a child. When this happens, the mother's milk drys up so that the mother's energy can be directed towards the growing child in the mother's womb. This creates a nutritional deficit for the other child, now 1 to 2 years old.
In order for a child to qualify for AIM's nutrition program, the child has to either have documented low weight or weight loss. Once a child has entered into the nutrition program, the child is weighed and checked up on about every two weeks and given food. The program works on a case-by-case basis, focusing on the children most at risk.