Big Government Thinks Local

We woke up this morning mentally preparing for the meeting we had been dreaming about since starting our research in DC, SESAN—the coordinating body for La Ventana de los Mil Dias.

Our cab pulled up to an unassuming building on the corner and we wondered if this was the right place. Arriving early to our 9AM meeting like typical gringos, we were ready to sit in the SESAN lobby for 30 minutes or more.

We were led through a foyer which opened up to a beautiful inner courtyard and continued into a large salon. Inside we found coffee, champurradas (a typical and delicious Guatemalan cookie), water and  five SESAN representatives, including Sub-Secretary German González. Sub-Secretary González graciously took 15 minutes of his busy morning to welcome us. Our impressions of him were hospitable, genuine, frank and optimistic. He acknowledged the challenges of eradicating chronic malnutrition, which affects 50 percent of Guatemalan children. Sub-Secretary González highlighted the historic accomplishment of this administration in making it a national priority while involving all sectors of society.

As gracefully as he entered, Sub-Secretary González exited the salon and we then began our nitty-gritty discussion with the SESAN team. SESAN stated that after two years of various communication campaigns, they’re starting to focus on the local community level. Through churches, community health centers and interpersonal communication, SESAN is hoping to affect positive behavior change to reduce chronic malnutrition. We have yet to see where radio fits into all of this but tomorrow we hope to fill this gap when we meet with a federation of radio schools.

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Photo from siinsan.gob.gt

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