“I thank FH for supporting my community, for the ideas they have shared with mothers, families, children, and young students and for the training developed with the leaders. They have been a great blessing for [the families] now they are putting into practice what they have learned.” — José
José López Gallego, is father to four adult children and a member of the Health Committee in Xonca and a volunteer on the Monitoring and Growth Promotion Team. These FH initiatives help fight malnutrition in his community.
José lives in a typical Xonca house with a metal sheet roof and wooden walls. They have electricity and their own latrine, which helps with sanitation and a healthy lifestyle. As a farmer, José grows corn and beans for his family but also herbs and flowers which he sells in the market in Nebaj. In addition to farming, he raises cattle, operates a local corn mill, and runs a small pharmacy in his community. His wife, Maria, helps serve customers in the pharmacy and the mill. Through these ventures, they both serve their neighbours and generate daily income for their family.
For the past five years, José has participated in FH workshops that equip him to be a health volunteer focused on supporting the growth of children in his community. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Guatemala, he assisted in monthly sessions to measure the growth rate (height and weight) of children under the age of five. As he worked with children susceptible to malnutrition, his compassion grew. Their vulnerability moves him to action and he encourages parents to follow the advice of the FH health workers.
“I feel motivated by the work that FH carries out in my community,” José shares. “The staff has been very empathetic with me and others to better facilitate learning about development topics. This has contributed to our participation. Now I am an ally motivating people in my community to learn.”
José has become an exemplary leader in promoting behaviour change in the homes of his community. “I want the mothers in my community to have the knowledge they need to care for their children; I want them to understand the importance of monitoring the weight and height of their children. This is the only way to identify if they are in good health, and if not, they are advised to change their behaviour. I hope my leadership will inspire others in my community to also promote behaviour change.”
Due to pandemic restrictions, José’s community has temporarily suspended in-person monitoring sessions, however, he continues to support the Ministry of Health and FH staff in whatever ways they need.
“I thank FH for supporting my community, for the ideas they have shared with mothers, families, children, and young students and for the training developed with the leaders. They have been a great blessing for [the families] now they are putting into practice what they have learned.”