The “Programa Atencion a Grupos Vulnerables” serves beneficiaries 6 months to 5 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers. This ensures adequate nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life. Copyright: WFP/Debora Bonel
Located within the department of Choluteca in the southern region of Honduras is “Programa Atencion a Grupos Vulnerables” (Attention to Vulnerable groups program) which works with children 6 months to 5 years, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers to ensure proper nutrition in the first 1000 days of life.
"One of the security measures we use is to have meetings with local authorities, so they know the project is being implemented and the mechanisms of selection of beneficiaries, thus avoiding speculation and conflicts between families in the community.” said Selvin Martinez.
Selvin Martinez works a volunteer –facilitator for the program and was part of a group of 14 people who have been trained in gender issues and protection in order to better implement the outreach programs they oversee. "To be a part of this training has completely changed my way of seeing things. I now examine each step thinking of the protection , impact and safety not only of the recipient but also my own. We have begun the transfer of this knowledge to participant mothers, mothers of program beneficiaries, but, especially husbands and fathers. Because of the machismo that exists in our communities, the men think that the responsibility to take their child to a health center is only of the mother. This is when childdren are exposed to many risks when [making nutritional choices] because they live in extreme poverty and far from health centres which are not only beneficial for the child but also the rest of the family. We are training men to become part of these processes and accompany their wives, or let them accompany the child to the health center while the mother is left to care for the rest of the family."
The Vulnerable Groups Program is implemented in 8 departments, 91 municipalities and more than 300 health centres nationwide ; Selvin oversees 4 Communities in the department of Choluteca - Apacilagua , Concepcion de Maria , and Reitoca and Orocuina, serving 1,800 beneficiaries of which 450 are pregnant and breastfeeding women , 250 children aged 2-5 years, and 1,100 aged 6 to 23 months. Indirectly, the program is estimated to serve 105,000 people.