Stories of Change

Gloria, Tatiela and Josmel. Photo: Denise van Wissen

CWS and partners are helping more than 1,300 people in 17 communities in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua.

Moms are teaming up for child nutrition in Nicaragua

Yeltsin Pérez got to know our partner in Nicaragua’s Caribbean region, AMC, when she participated in a class for young farmers in her community of Nazareth a few years ago.

Now 22 and married to the young pastor of the Siksikwas village church, Augusto Tenorio, Yeltsin was pregnant with the couple’s first child when she came in contact with AMC again last year. With support from CWS, AMC was leading classes for moms in the area about how to keep their babies healthy.

Yeltsin was eager to learn all she could about raising her baby, and she never missed a session. She learned about breastfeeding, how and when to transition babies to solid food, what that solid food should be and how to make sure babies have safe water.

When her baby was born, Yeltsin put into practice everything she had learned. She said it wasn’t easy to breastfeed exclusively, since mothers in the area traditionally give their babies herbal tea and other drinks as early as two or three months of age. She stuck to what she learned, though, and her baby is now seven months old, in good health and is starting to eat solid food.

In the spirit of teamwork, Yeltsin volunteered to visit pregnant women and mothers in her neighborhood to share what she had learned and to help them as they faced some of the challenges that she had also faced. She has five moms in her group, and she checks in with them at least twice each month.

Gloria Marenco is one of the moms in Yeltsin’s group. Her first child, Tatiela, is a 6-year-old first grader at the Nazareth primary school. When Tatiela was a baby, Gloria did what most moms here do. She gave her herbal tea at just a few months of age and stopped nursing after about a year.

Things have been different for Gloria’s son, Josmel. He’s only a year old, and Gloria was already part of a mothers group that AMC organized when she was pregnant. Like Yeltsin, Gloria learned about how to have a healthy diet while pregnant, the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, how to best start feeding her baby solid food and about the importance of clean water.  She also put into practice what she learned, and she can tell that it’s helpful. Josmel likes to drink water from a cup. Since their family only has water for a few hours each day, Gloria connects a clean hose to her tap and fills up freshly-washed barrels, then she boils the water before the family drinks it. She has noticed that Josmel doesn’t get diarrhea as much as Tatiela did as a baby.

Yeltsin visits Gloria every week to share what she has learned at the meetings for community health volunteers. They talk and support each other through their struggles.

Woman to woman, mother to mother, the babies of Nazareth are becoming healthier.

AMC stands for Accion Medica Cristiana. CWS, Growing Hope Globally and World Renew support the AMC team in Nicaragua’s Caribbean region as they partner with communities to improve agriculture, clean water and nutrition for young children and their families.