Something you might not know is that COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on global malnutrition, particularly on children. How is this happening?

Malnutrition on its own is a complex issue. Canadians often associate malnutrition with droughts. While often true, this isn’t the whole story, because malnutrition happens for many reasons. Despite being a tropical country, for example, Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and nearly half of all Guatemalan children under five experience chronic malnutrition.

COVID-19 has meant that movement in Guatemala is limited. This means that farmers cannot sell their crops at the markets to earn income. Goods are priced higher because of the difficulties of transporting goods throughout the country. With an economy in decline, families living in poverty prior to COVID-19 are pushed to stretch every resource possible to feed each member. The foods that are available, such as corn tortillas,  fill hungry stomachs but have very little nutrients. Purchasing food for multiple days to shelter in place or quarantine is practically an impossibility.

Children are in particular danger because they’re still growing, and growing brains and bodies need proper nourishment. In a recently published article in The Lancet, it’s no surprise that researchers point to a growing need to concentrate humanitarian efforts on protecting child nutrition. Not only is better nutrition essential for a healthy immune system, but focusing our efforts on child health is essential for a better future.

What can you do?

Volunteer at a local food bank or donate what you can to a non-profit organizations. CAUSE Canada is grateful to partner with CFLI in Guatemala in this vital times. We are committed to helping families survive the pandemic and that includes helping people be informed, working with communities to stop the spread of the pandemic, and fighting malnutrition alongside the most vulnerable. With your help, we continue to build hope into families’ lives.