Guatemalan families are falling into “vicious cycle” of chronic malnutrition

Guatemalan families are falling into “vicious cycle” of chronic malnutrition

The European Union is sponsoring a consortium of NGOs seeking to combat the problem of chronic malnutrition in Guatemala.

Malnutrition affects one in two Guatemalan children. And it leaves families ill-equipped to deal with unexpected weather events, as Glenda Rodas, from Action Against Hunger, explains.

“These are poor families who live day by day. Families that grow basic crops and live solely by them - but in the end, their main problem remains chronic malnutrition. Having these crises hitting harder each year, they’re forced to invent survival strategies,” she says.

“These coping mechanisms, these ‘survival strategies’, can start with dropping a daily meal, sending family members away to eat because there’s not enough at home. Families might decrease food portions. They go from these kinds of strategies to getting into debt and selling parcels of land or agricultural tools. The problem is that these are temporary solutions, because when they finish the money they get from these sales, they fail again. It's a vicious cycle.“

“These crises become chronic. They happen over and over again, families falling into the same situation. It’s no surprise, then, that when a crisis like a drought hits them, they don't know how to get out of it. "

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