ST. LOUIS, MO, October 15, 2012 – The World Soy Foundation, aided by a grant from the CHS Foundation, released a report today outlining current and future efforts to use localized soy dairies to enhance the diets of youth in Guatemala. Soy dairies “should use nutrition education as a primary driver” to increase demand for soy dairy products, the report concludes.

Guatemalan children under five suffer from stunting at the highest rates in the western hemisphere and at the third highest in the world, according to a UNICEF report. The World Soy Foundation hopes that in introducing protein-rich soy products to the nation’s youngest citizens, Guatemala will begin to make up some ground.

The report focuses on strategies of nutrition education, mostly in the form of child-friendly workshops run out of local soy dairies, called SoyCows. One SoyCow in Guatemala City, for example, has partnered with a local school to offer soy-baking courses to girls. Such programs focus on the introduction of soy products, such as nutrient packed okara, into traditional local cuisines. So in Guatemala City, programs teach students and their parents to make okara-based empanadas.

The report argues that programs involving young women are especially potent tools for nutrition education. Women are “strategic to improving nutrition for the entire family,” the report’s authors write. “Therefore, expansion of soy dairies in Guatemala should consider women as both beneficiaries as well as leaders.”

The full report can be accessed here.