Posted on Feb 03, 2021
We are happy to announce the approval of an economic development project in Guatemala.  The "Better Corn for Guatemala" grant is a two-pronged project to increase incomes of Guatemala's poorest corn farmers through access to improved seeds and training, especially given the challenges of COVID-19.  Our club has contributed $8,000 to the project through member donations.
The first prong of project will target a large farming association, assisting 1,500 very poor farmers to use improved seeds by first providing free seeds and training, then providing seeds at a high discount, in order to move them towards financial independence. The second prong will work provide training on improved seeds and improved farming techniques to poor farmers outside of the farming association, with the goal of improving the use of improved seeds and new farming techniques by farmers across the Northern region. Through this program, 1,500 farmers will be provided with free seeds and over 2,000 families will be provided with training. 

Over the course of two years, the project's goal is for 2,000 farmers to either purchase seeds or use improved farming practices, putting them on a path to financial self-sufficiency. COVID-19 restrictions have blocked nearly all farmer training and most rural development programs in Guatemala. This project will attempt to rise to the challenge of reaching farmers, by making use of a combination of in person training where possible and distance training consisting of videos, SMS text messages, Whatsapp messages, and radio, and pamphlets, translated into native languages where necessary.  
This $228 thousand project has the support of numerous clubs and districts. The host sponsor is the Rotary Club of Guatemala de la Ermita.  The international sponsor is the Rotary Club of Boise Southwest