Un Huevo al Día is a Nutrition Program that gives 3+ eggs per week to students at the local elementary school,with the goal of reducing and eventually ending, the chronic malnutrition and stunting experienced by 70% of Mayan children in San Marcos. We deliver food and oversee daily preparation of a nutritious breakfast for the 385 students of the local public elementary school. We have given out over 50,000 eggs to date.
- The addition of 3 eggs per week into a child’s diet has been shown to effectively correct protein malnutrition in populations in the developing world. (source)
- Experiencing hunger, through missing breakfast, can significantly impair a child’s ability to learn.
- Serving breakfast at school has been shown to increase school attendance and improve learning outcomes.
- Eggs are an inexpensive, culturally accepted source of critical protein.
- Eggs in Guatemala are not typically refrigerated and can last over a month, making them easy to keep in bulk.
Childhood malnutrition among the indigenous population of San Marcos is a major, immediate threat to the future health and thriving of the community. At present, up to 70% of children in San Marcos experience chronic malnutrition. This exceeds the two current highest rates worldwide: Burundi (56%) and Papua New Guinea (50%). Nutrient deficiencies, especially early in life, have huge implications for overall health and development. Malnutrition contributes to a weaker immune system, leading to higher rates of infection and disease, especially in areas with poor hygiene or sanitation (such as impoverished rural areas like San Marcos). Lack of proper nutrients early in life can stunt growth, negatively impact the brain and cognitive development, and lead to deficits in learning, memory, language processing, and critical thinking.
Although the Guatemalan Ministry of Education provides some nutritional funding to all public schools for food, access to quality nutrition remains a challenge throughout much of the country. In 2018, the federal government committed to provide 3Q per student per day for food, roughly $0.43. However, due to plethora reasons, these funds are often not distributed to the school on time, making donations from SMF the only source of food for students at school.
The program began with giving out one hardboiled egg a day in the morning at school, and has since expanded to a larger, egg-centric breakfast menu such as eggs with beans, scrambled eggs with a piece of fruit, or an omelette with vegetables. We also provide some fruits and vegetables, and aim to provide even more nutrient dense foods, such as chia seed drinks, in the future.
To align with our mission of self-sustainability and community ownership, we are beginning to source eggs for the program from our organic hen farm cooperative – the first large scale farm in San Marcos. Read more about our Hen Farm efforts here.
To align with our mission of self-sustainability we are beginning to source eggs from our organic hen farm – the first large scale farm in San Marcos. Read more about our Farm efforts here.
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Your donation goes a long way towards ending childhood malnutrition in San Marcos for good!