Coos, Rain Drums, & Marinara Sauce

Los Conjeos sing a song about breastfeeding.


The sweet, tangy aroma of marinara sauce cooking raw pasta. The sound of rain cascading into a collection drum. The coos and shrieks of breastfeeding infants. At first glance, these three events may seem unrelated, but in fact, they are connected. All are marketing tools for La Ventana de los Mil Días. To read more about La Ventana, click here.

To raise awareness about chronic malnutrition, the Guatemalan government and various organizations have employed several methods to garner attention, including public events, video shorts, and traditional media.

In the case of public events, the government has done a range of activities from recruiting 100 chefs to serve 20,000 pounds of pasta to touring “La Casita de los Mil Días”, a sustainable housing and health expo. Health fairs become the norm and the practice of breastfeeding has been given its own week. In addition, President Otto Peréz Molina and other government officials have traveled extensively to the hardest hit areas to promote the initiative.   

Creative video shorts are another popular medium. The government and other organizations have created visually entertaining video clips to educate the public about malnutrition and maternal and infant health. A few of my favorites are SESAN’s Maribel & Valerio  and Despertemos Pacto.

Lastly, the government and independent agencies have utilized traditional media (e.g., radio, newspapers, and video) to promote La Ventana. In 2012, World Food Program teamed up with the National Radio Corporation (RCN) to broadcast a two-month-long radio awareness campaign. The government’s own news agency AGN reports on the topic frequently as well as other news sources such as Siglo XXI and La Prensa Libre. Similarly, video has been used for public service announcements to promote the initiative and encourage certain behaviors like hand washing

Marinara, rain drums, and crying infants will never be seen in the same light again.

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