A Window of Opportunity: An Overview of La Ventana de los Mil Días

Just for a minute, imagine your boss ships you and several co-workers off to the countryside, putting each of you up for week in a rustic cottage. You might be thinking---sweet--- vacation, but what if it wasn’t for leisure? In 2012, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina sent his cabinet members to live with rural families to educate them about the country’s chronic malnutrition problem. Guatemala has one of the worst malnutrition rates in the western hemisphere, and less than 1% of the Guatemalan population knows about it.

Zero Hunger Pact & Window of 1,000 Days

Hambre Cero

In his January 15, 2012 presidential address, President Molina kicked off his national hunger campaign (the Zero Hunger Pact) and vowed to reduce chronic malnutrition by 10% in 4 years. In the hunger pact, Molina mentioned helping children under five years, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and women in their birth-giving years since they were the most affected by chronic malnutrition. As a result, the initiative La Ventana de los Mil Días (Window of 1,000 Days) was created.

Watch the Minister of Public Health Dr. Jorge Villavicencio launch the March 11, 2013 initiative.

What's in a Name?

Ventana de los Mil Dias

Some of you may be wondering why name the initiative “1,000 days”? If you understand Spanish, here lies your answer.

For those that don’t speak Spanish, no problemo.  A “1,000 days” is a reference to the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday. This critical period is when a child needs all the essential nutrients to grow into a healthy and productive adult. Undernourished children have a higher risk of dying in infancy, developing physical and cognitive deficits, and face chronic health problems down the road.

La Ventana, however, seeks to avoid these dire consequences by promoting breastfeeding, improving diets, vaccinating children, and supplying mothers and children with essential vitamins (i.e., salt, iron, zinc, folic acid, and vitamin A). Check out the La Ventana’s 10 interventions here.

What will your next work trip look like?

Connect with Us! 

Photo courtesy of elPeriódico.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.