Nearly 700,000 families in Guatemala grow and depend on corn for 80% of their diet. Corn is low in both nutrients and protein, causing half of children under the age of five to suffer from stunted growth. As a result, Guatemala ranks the 4th most malnourished country in the world.
Rather than making families dependent on outside aid or promoting unfamiliar crops, Semilla Nueva has a culturally-appropriate solution that allows farmers to take charge of their own families’ health.
Quality Protein Maize is a naturally-bred, non-GMO corn variety that has 90% of the protein of milk. Studies from Africa to Mexico have revealed that consumption of QPM radically alters malnutrition rates, increasing average growth rates by 10% in one year and helping stunted children catch up to normal development. Simply by changing part of the corn families are growing and eating to Quality Protein Maize, the Guatemalan malnutrition rate can be drastically reduced.
Last year, we introduced QPM to farmers who received it enthusiastically, women who loved cooking with it, and local children who loved the taste. However, the hybrid variety forced farmers to dig deep into empty pockets to pay for new seeds each year instead of being able to save them—and the yields were too low to justify the cost.
After searching for a variety that enables farmers to save seeds and has competitive yields, we have found a QPM that has the potential to increase child growth rates in 270,000 families. With your help, we will be the first to prove this variety's success in the region and provide farmers with a sustainable solution to malnutrition that they can grow themselves.
We Need Your Help
Our neighbors in Mexico at the organization CIMMYT have developed a new variety of QPM. It has high yields and its seeds can be saved for next year's growing season, fitting all of our farmer’s demands. We need your help to provide farmers with this sustainable solution to malnutrition that they can grow on their own land.
Every dollar you pledge funds the experimentation and introduction of the new QPM variety to farmers. Here is how your money will be used:
Investigation: We will test varieties of QPM from all over the world at the Semilla Nueva Experimental Center in order to ensure that it is the most effective variety for Tropical Guatemala.
Seed Distribution: We will provide farmers in 25 communities with QPM seed so that they can try it first-hand and offer feedback on local acceptance.
Local Education: We will incorporate QPM into our monthly food security workshops. Women will learn the numerous nutritional benefits of QPM for pregnant women and children under five.
National Impact: We will continue working with Guatemalan governmental institutions and HarvestPlus to develop the most impactful national seed distribution strategy to make QPM accessible throughout the whole country.
Putting QPM on the dinner table will make the next generation strong in the classroom and on the soccer field. Each donation will help us make this a reality here in Guatemala. Semilla Nueva's model of development is grounded in the belief that poverty is not destiny; given the opportunity, farmers and families can determine their own way forward. For these, and many other reasons, Semilla Nueva is confident that QPM is the proper tool to empower Guatemala to grow its own way out of malnutrition.
QPM for the Long Run
From now until December, four SN staff members will be training for a 10k race. As none of us are natural runners, we know that this training process will be difficult, but we are motivated to implement in our own lives what we're hoping to promote in the lives of the children with whom we work: the ability to grow stronger. Meet the team:
Curt “The Dreamer” Bowen: When we originally brainstormed the idea of running to raise money for Semilla Nueva, our Executive Director, Curt, sincerely suggested that we train for a FULL marathon… in two months. He’ll have to put his feet on the ground and lace up in order to train for our team’s 10k!
Lee “Triple Threat” Stroman: Lee, our Communications Director, likes to remind her friends that back in the day she was a Grade A athlete. While in high school she 'supposedly' excelled on the court and the field playing field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. We’ll have to see if she can bring back the glory days and reach our 10k goal.
Lisa “Light Feet” Eash: Lisa is the only avid runner our team. After a long day at the office or at the SN Experimental Center, she looks for her own center by running and jamming out to Electro or 90’s R&B. Her most recent run was an uphill 7k from Xela to the neighboring Llano de Pinal. When the rest of us are dragging behind, she’ll be the one to get us back on track.
Haley “The Rock” Kirk: Our Fellow, Haley, has recently become addicted to rock climbing. However, apart from that she wouldn’t describe herself as “sporty”. Previous experience includes running the mandatory mile in high school PE and running away from commitments (such as training for a 10k). Training for this race will be a test of her rock solid commitment.
Join the Team!
Support a good cause and get in shape for the Holidays! Join us by setting your own personal exercise goal whether it be climbing a mountain, running a race or swimming a mile in your local pool to rally support for Semilla Nueva's cause! All events will take place Saturday, December 6th wherever you are. Go ahead, take a chance, make a personal fundraising goal and see if you can acheive it! Click here for a simple 1-2-3 step guide to making your own page and joining the team!
Be a Cheerleader!
Your voice is an asset and we want you to use it! Cheerleaders are vital to rally for a cause: share our campaign on your social media page, make a donation on Launch Day, reach out to your personal network and spread the word of Semilla Nueva! If you are interested in signing up to become a Cheerleader click here!
For more information on Semilla Nueva, visit our website at www.semillanueva.org.
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