Child nutrition in Guatemala and Columbia

The Costa Foundation aims to ensure that children have a good and healthy education. We therefore insist that fresh drinking water is always available at our schools, along with adequate sanitation.

Sometimes, however, Mother Nature catches us by surprise in the form of famine, drought or flood. We invested in flood retaining walls in Las Brisas School in Yupiltepeque, Guatemala and have always built seismically sound schools in areas prone to earthquakes. However, sometimes it’s drought or famine that have adversely affected some of our schools in both Colombia and Guatemala.

In July 2009, Yupiltepeque Region in Guatemala suffered from the worst drought in living memory, which resulted in children at three of the schools that we’d built, having little or no food to eat during lesson time.

With the support of the Complete Coffee Foundation, we invested funds to purchase a plot of land and provided tools, seedlings and irrigation pipes so that the children and their parents could grow sustenance crops. We also ensured that every child was weighed and measured and provided with a nourishing drink at breakfast and lunch, until such time as the crops grown could be used for school lunches.

The project was so successful that the schools have now built ‘Tuck Shops’ on the premises and sell surplus crops to parents as an income-generating exercise.

This programme has also been carried out in Anatolí School, La Mesa, Colombia and La Esperanza School, Vergara, Colombia. In both of these schools, ten year old children are voted by their fellow students as ‘Team Leaders’ for either the fish farm, chicken farm, vegetable farm or mini coffee plantation. They work with adults on the farm and are responsible for harvesting crops and meat for school lunches.