Guatemala is a middle-income country with per capita gross domestic product of USD 2,650. However, it has one of the highest levels of inequality in the world, with a Gini coefficient of 53.7, and ranks 133rd of 187 countries in the human development index. Prevalence of chronic malnutrition is 49.8 percent among children aged 6-59 months, exceeds 70 percent in the most affected municipalities and is highest among indigenous populations. Chronic malnutrition is strongly correlated with poverty, inappropriate nutrition practices and poor living conditions. Long lean seasons heighten food scarcity, increasing vulnerability to food insecurity and acute malnutrition, particularly in the dry corridor. Selection of intervention areas is based on detailed vulnerability studies from 2012.
The country programme is aligned with: i) United Nations Development Assistance Framework priorities for integrated rural development, sustainable management of natural resources and food and nutrition security; ii) government priorities for reducing chronic malnutrition and preventing deaths from acute malnutrition, and national rural development and gender policies; and iii) WFP’s Strategic Objectives 3 and 4 in the Strategic Plan (2014–2017). Consultations with the Government, donors, non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and beneficiaries informed programme design.
The programme’s overall objective is to address the multiple dimensions and underlying causes of food and nutrition insecurity through an integrated approach, collecting evidence on the impact of interventions under the Zero Hunger Pact and promoting national ownership and scale-up of best practices. The integrated strategy has three components: i) preventing and reducing malnutrition through distributions of fortified blended food and nutrition education; ii) improving resilience in disaster-prone areas, and enhancing food availability throughout the year through food assistance for assets using cash and food modalities; and iii) improving the incomes of smallholder farmers through increased and better-quality production, reduced post-harvest losses, and sales of surpluses to markets. Government capacities will be enhanced in each component.
WFP will transfer lessons learned and best practices to government partners for scale-up and integration into national policies. It will emphasize women’s role in decision-making processes. Capacity development, cultural sensitivity, nutrition education, partnerships, protection and accountability to beneficiaries are cross-cutting themes.