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Thousands of Women and Children in Central America Participate in Nutrition Effort

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“Those first five years of life are just critically important. That’s when appropriate nutrition is vital. We have to feed those children so that their brains develop appropriately,” said Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a recent visit to Guatemala.

President Johnson traveled to Central America to minister to Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith in four countries and to announce the expansion of a women and children’s initiative.

“It started here in Guatemala and in the Philippines. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to express my gratitude to these members who got things started,” said President Johnson. “There [are] so many things they learned in participating right from the beginning [that are] now blessing the lives of others as we take this effort forward.”

As part of the global women and children’s initiative, the Church is donating US$55.8 million to improve the health and well-being of 12 million children and 2.7 million women in 12 high-need countries.

The four-pillar effort includes nutrition, maternal and newborn care, immunizations and education.

Hundreds of Latter-day Saint mothers and children and community supporters gathered at a Church meetinghouse in Patzicia, Guatemala, on Friday, May 31, 2024, for nutrition screening and education. The event was organized by local Relief Society leaders.

“So, working together, the Church and those community health care workers, they’re really making a difference in the lives of those children,” said President Johnson. “Mothers were educated about appropriate nutrition, children were screened, and I was just so pleased to see the progress that they’re making.”

President Johnson sees the nutrition initiative in Guatemala as a role model for efforts to help children thrive in other parts of the world. It is now implemented in 17 countries globally.

The nutrition effort in Central America supports more than 6,000 children and mothers in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

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