Latin America & THE CARIBBEAN
2016-2017 RESEARCH PROGRAMS:
CDF funded and implemented the following programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, in collaboration with project partners:
The Stabilization of Marginalized Communities in Guatemala via Food and Nutrition Security on Child Stunting: Employing Systems Thinking Tools - This study involved using a Systems Thinking Approach in marginalized and displaced communities in Guatemala through the development of a web-based tool to aid decision makers, from mothers to policy officials, on food and nutrition options that directly impact health of children. A unique tool was developed for USAID, municipalities, and local households to track food security and water, sanitation and hygiene issues. Partners: Missouri University of Science & Technology and Peace Corps Reserve Guatemala
National Promotion of Quality Protein Maize (QPM) through Social Marketing in Guatemala – As part of Phase II of ConDev’s Transformative Solutions Program, our project partners at Semilla Nueva worked to combat the bottlenecks to national use of QPM. They also expandes the consumption through a social marketing approach that included the release of a new brand called Fortaleza, while ensuring seed purchase and seed saving in Guatemala.
Learn, Grow, Eat & Go Program in Guatemala: Reducing Bullying by Promoting Teamwork and Inclusion through Gardening - Partnering with AgriLife Extension’s Junior Master Gardener program and the A&M Garden Club to use the new Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Curriculum as a tool to promote food security and reduce bullying in selected rural schools by promoting teamwork and inclusion through gardening and physical activities.
Enhancing Livelihood and Incomes of Rural Women through Postharvest Technology, Phase II – Guatemala: In this program, researchers collected data to study the relationship between women who work in vegetable packing centers using a new post-harvest technology, their decision-making ability in their households, and likelihood of violence committed against them. Partner: Alianza Agroindustrial y Artesanal Rural - ALIAR
Technical Brief - Learn, Grow, Eat & Go Program in Guatemala 2017
An Analysis of Youth Violence in Trinidad and Tobago: The purpose of the study was to collect youth and violence data from local organizations to develop a comprehensive analysis of youth violence in Trinidad and Tobago, and to be able to give recommendations to develop policies and programs to reduce such.
Texting Campaign for Adolescent Mothers in El Salvador: An innovative approach was taken to create a short messaging service (SMS) mHealth tool to improve intent to and knowledge of breastfeeding among adolescent pregnant mothers. The objectives of the study were to determine if mHealth education and support tools were effective in increasing perception, knowledge and intent surrounding breastfeeding in pregnant adolescent females ages 10 – 19 in El Salvador. Additionally, the study sought to increase a pregnant adolescent’s perception of whether she is allowed to make decisions about the health of herself and her child. CDF funded Texas A&M University's School of Public Health to conduct this study.
2015-2016 Research Programs:
Reduction of Violence and Gang Involvement in Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador through a Hydroponic Urban Gardening Project
CDF worked with Food for the Poor and the New Horizons for the Poor Foundation in El Salvador to conduct a study to evaluate the impact of an agricultural and nutritional innovation –the use of semi-urban hydroponic gardens to produce leafy vegetables– in violence reduction and keeping youth out of gangs.
Guatemala: Studying women empowerment and decision-making within women participating in the Enhancing Livelihood and Incomes of Rural Women through Postharvest Technology program.
This study is linked to ConDev’s Transformative Solutions program. The intervention entails testing an innovation to empower rural women through agricultural technology. Mayan women at selected fruit and vegetable packing centers are using modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for commercial quality processing of pre-washed fruits and vegetables. CDF is supporting the study to test whether the use of MAP technology and employment at these centers will empower women to be able to make decisions at home and make them less prone to domestic violence. Women in these communities are vulnerable due to high levels of unemployment, social and economic marginalization, and lack of education. In addition, they suffer from inequality, poverty, and hunger.
Guatemala: Examining the effect of improved family nutrition on violent behavior, stress, and anxiety within rural farming families participating in a Quality Protein Maize project.
CDF is working with Semilla Nueva, a non-profit organization that works on development of new sustainable agriculture technologies, such as the introduction and promotion of Quality Protein Maize (QPM). CDF and Semilla Nueva are studying the effect of improved family nutrition (through QPM consumption) on violent behavior, stress, and anxiety within rural farming families in Guatemala. Several studies have shown that malnutrition has been determined as a cause of anxiety, anti-social behaviors, and oppositional disorder and is also associated with violence and crime (Walker, 2007; Hoddinott, 2013). Taken together, the impact of malnutrition on the interrelated problems of poverty, health, and social cohesion makes it a key barrier in the development of a post civil war Guatemala, and one of the highest priorities for the Guatemalan government, civil society, and international development organizations. This study aims to measure the effects of the intervention (the shift from conventional maize to QPM consumption) on intra-familial violence and stress levels in selected communities of Guatemala.
El Salvador: Migration and Youth Development Study, Phase I: Base-line Data Collection
CDF funded the Migration and Youth Development Study, Phase I: Base-line Data Collection. This study was developed in collaboration with the Sociology and Political Science Department at Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA) in El Salvador. As part of its efforts to create development opportunities as alternatives to emigration and generate a strong desire to “stay rooted” in their country, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) - El Salvador is working on a cacao revitalization initiative in various municipalities of the coast and valleys throughout El Salvador, benefiting a heterogeneous population, within which youth participate. Based on the above, CDF found pertinent to study the inter-relationship between youth development and migration. Collecting baseline data will allow CRS to initiate a monitoring and evaluation process for its cacao project that will allow impact measurement on the intention that youth have to migrate. The baseline data collection had the objective of building a body of knowledge regarding five initial topics that will allow CRS to measure future impact of its cacao initiative in influencing youth intention and plans to migrate from selected municipalities: (1) Major causes of migration in the municipality; (2) Expectations before the migration and development of life projects; (3) Expectations of participation in a productive project related to the cacao initiative; (4) Interest in greater opportunities for youth leadership, participation in various community programs, and strengthening of capacity building of youth; (5) Social fabric present in the municipality and potential for greater establishment of “roots” for youth in their communities.
El Salvador: Reducing Gang Involvement through the Olympic Values through Sports Program (OVTSP)
The Olympic Values Study in El Salvador aims to research and evaluate the effects of Olympic Values through Sports Program (OVTSP) on participating youth from 12 municipalities in El Salvador and to determine the program’s contribution to reducing gang involvement. The specific objectives of the study are to: a) identify the main problems concerning juvenile delinquency in the communities in which OVTSP will be conducted, b) determine whether OVTSP is effective in preventing youths from joining gangs, and c) to determine if children and young adults’ lack of involvement in sports influences communities with higher violence rates. The Olympic Committee in El Salvador is leading this effort.
WORKING WITH STUDENTS ON INNOVATIONS:
CDF has collaborated with Texas A&M University’s Engineering Innovation Center to offer students the opportunity to develop innovative solutions and technologies for our projects in Latin America. Two student teams won 1st prize in the Aggies Invent event sponsored at Texas A&M for designing a Pigeon Pea Desheller and a Seed Spacer for Guatemalan farmers. In addition, students from the Engineering Projects in Community Service course designed new technologies to improve the washing system of leafy vegetables in packing centers in Guatemala and presented their technology at the Innovation Marketplace at MIT in Boston in 2016.
For more information in these projects, please visit: https://engineering.tamu.edu/aggiesinvent
Hebron High School students worked on several designs to improve a cart to collect cut roses in greenhouses, for a group of Guatemalan flower producers.
2014 RESEARCH PROGRAMS (COMPLETED)
Food Security, Migration and Conflict in Guatemala: The Inter-Relationships between Food Security, Migration and Conflict in Guatemala study promoted focused research on conflict, food security, and migration in Guatemala, in collaboration with the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO). Objectives included to research the relationship between food security, migration and conflict, especially phenomena that related to the types of conflict that promote displacement, and problems related to reintegration of deported persons. View the research report in English and Spanish:
Innovative Institutional Approaches to Prevent Youth Violence in El Salvador: The study on Innovative Institutional Approaches to Prevent Youth Violence in El Salvador was conducted in collaboration with the Latin American School of Social Sciences, FLACSO El Salvador Program. This study sought to identify the initiatives being undertaken by Salvadoran institutions to prevent youth from becoming involved in violent acts and to identify innovative approaches that have an impact on youth violence (especially as related to violence prevention). View the Research Report in Spanish and the English Translation:
Drivers of Conflict Studies in Guatemala and El Salvador: The Drivers of Conflict study in Guatemala supported intern students from San Carlos University who collected data on drivers of conflict in two rural communities that are struggling to recover from a long history of conflict brought on by the 1960-1996 Civil War. Based on 400 surveys, results show that the main drivers of conflict in target communities of Chimaltenango and El Quiche, Guatemala are lack of job opportunities, poverty, and lack of education. Main types of conflict are theft, gang violence, kidnapping, and threats. View the Research Report:
The research study on Drivers of Conflict in Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador included a 10-week internship program in collaboration with a non-profit organization, Shelter the Homeless International Projects (SHIP). In May-July 2014, an intern conducted over 160 surveys in several communities with high incidence of violence and food security problems. Two graduate students from Texas A&M University analyzed the data to identify the main drivers of conflict and determine the relationship between food insecurity and violence. In addition, the intern in El Salvador studied two innovative approaches to community development being initiated by SHIP, including a youth development program and an entrepreneurship program for women. View the research report and the case studies conducted by our intern:
State of the Art Review of Research Programs & Studies Related to Conflict and Rural Development conducted during the past five years (2009-2013) in Guatemala: In collaboration with the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Guatemala, researchers conducted a State of the Art review of research programs and studies related to conflict, the agrarian situation, and rural development conducted during the past five years (2009-2013) in Guatemala with the objective of analyzing the results and determining the causes of conflict, conflict hotspots and how they relate to food insecurity, as well as to define new research lines that will allow local researchers to generate information, data and analysis to better understand conflict and determine the best way to achieve change.