On the Road to the Western Highlands

Zipping down the Pan American Highway, our truck kicks up dust as we leave Guatemala City behind. Riding with the windows down, heat, dirt, and whiffs of gasoline fills our nostrils as concrete buildings give way to palm trees and towering sugarcane.  The vibrant, green vegetation and countryside is a relief to sore eyes after spending the past week in the city. The two-hour car ride to Lake Atitlán--- one of our first stops in affected areas to assess chronic malnutrition --- gave our team the chance to reflect on our project and think about what’s ahead.

Up to this point, the project has been awesome in the sense that all the research we have done in D.C. is being validated with our Guatemalan findings:

  • A specific communication strategy did not exist exclusively for La Ventana de los Mil Días.
  • There was not a coordinated effort among all actors in promoting La Ventana.
  • The majority of radio spots existed in Spanish and focused on urban and middle-class instead of rural populations.

Based on our private and public sector interviews in Guatemala City, we learned that there is great momentum behind combatting chronic malnutrition at all levels of society, including NGOs, business, government, and international actors. Everyone recognizes the current administration’s success at making chronic children malnutrition one of Guatemala’s top three priorities. However, we observed that there has been limited communication and coordination efforts between actors, which has resulted in duplicating efforts to create radio spots and other promotional material.

We wonder what we will find visiting rural communities, health clinics, and community radio stations outside Guatemala City: Will our conversations mirror what we heard in the city? How will they be different?

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Photos from Explorers in Guatemala.

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