Test Guatemala

How ReachUp came to Test Guatemala

ChildFund had a long-standing experience on implementing program in Guatemala in a group modality. In 2014, the Japanese Strategic Development Fund approved support, through the World Bank,for ChidFund to implement the “Pilot to improve the development and Nutrition of Young Children in Poor Rural Areas in Guatemala”(Nuestros Ninos Sanos Y Listos Project) in indigenous communities in Guatemala. This initiative sought to enhance child development in the country through evidence-based interventions that could be efficiently scaled up through national programs.

At that time, Professor Lia Fernald, from the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, was working with the World Bank to prepare an ECD measurement kit. Being aware of the work of Professor Susan Walker and the Child Development Group at the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, the UWI, she introduced Reach Up to the ChildFund team. The Reach Up team was invited to present the intervention, and given the extensive evidence of improving child development for vulnerable children in a home visit modality, this curriculum was selected for the home visit modality of Nuestros Ninos Sanos y Listos.

The program continues though the Juego Conmigo (Come Play with Me project), part of the Growing with You program. Through group sessions and home visits working with local partners.

Country team

Luis Miguel Gutierrez

Partnership Portfolio Manager, Child Fund

Linda Garcia Arenas

Chief of Party, Juega Conmigo team, ChildFund

Sandra Sandoval

Early Childhood Development Senior Advisor, ChildFund

Lucy Bassett

Prof. of Practice, University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Julieta Trias

Senior Economist, World Bank

Test Name

Test Role

Implementation partners

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Some blurb

Communities we serve

The pilot Nuestros Niños Sanos y Listos was implemented in 100 communities in the Departments of Huehuetenango, Quiché, San Marcos and Totonicapán between 2016 and 2019, reaching 5,500 children.

Community 1

Community 2

Our Approach

In 2019, through a grant from The LEGO Foundation the intervention was adapted to be delivered through a combination of group meetings and home visits.

The home delivery modality of Nuestros Niños Sanos y Listos (NNSL) program, based on the Reach Up program, was implemented in 2017 and 2018. Local women from the communities – Madres Guías (mother guides) – were trained to deliver the intervention in the beneficiaries households.

The remote modality, was piloted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the in-person program was suspended. Using technology (voice messages) parents were trained in early stimulation (based on Reach Up curricula adapted to Guatemala under the NNSL program). Beneficiaries were participating in Juega Conmigo project before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Due the success of the pilot, Juega Conmigo continued implementing a remote modality until 2023, through radio programs delivered by mobile speakers, local and community radio stations; also through short videos and key messages sent by SMS or WhatsApp. The contents, in Spanish, K’iche’, Mam, Kaqchikel and Q’eqchi’, were based on Reach Up curricula adapted to Guatemala, Accompany Me to Grow (Ministry of Education modality) and group sessions of ChildFund. During this remote phase, Juega Conmigo project reached around 19,000 children and their families.

In July 2023, Juega Conmigo project resume the face to face activities, proposing group sessions and home visits (Reach Up curricula), this last ones targeting children with disabilities, malnutrition and/or adolescent mother. Through the whole modality, it aims to reach around 12,000 children and their families.

Key Stats

Age Group  0 – 36 months
Frequency  1x/week
Duration  40 – 50 minutes/session
Total Period  6 – 15 months

Organisational Structure

Community managers and community volunteers (mother guides) were trained to deliver the Nuestros Ninos y Listos project. Community managers supervise the community volunteers. Coordinators from local partners (NGOs) supervise the community managers.

Cultural Adaptations

The Reach Up methodology was adapted to the Guatemalan rural indigenous setting. The curricula were edited to incorporate illustrations depicting Mayan people, local songs and native animals. Toys were also recreated to emulate familiar objects made of local recycled materials. The guidelines were simplified and included more illustrations, rather than text so they could be more easily understood by Madres Guías with low education levels. The intervention was implemented in local indigenous languages and Spanish. All the survey instruments used for the impact evaluation were adapted and translated to two indigenous languages (K’iche and Mam) and Spanish.

Adapting Reach Up to the Guatemala context introduce several innovations, first, it was the first time that Reach Up was adapted to indigenous populations, and, second, it was one of the few interventions that compared two delivery modalities within an experimental setting. The World Bank designed a rigorous impact evaluation to measure the impact of each delivery modality.

Home made toys


Thanks to the work of Reach Up Bangladesh, researchers have observed tangible improvements on participating children’s health and well-being, measured in:

Nutritional status
Fine and gross motor skills
Anthropometric measurements
Expressive and receptive language

Secondary outcomes include an increase in the mother’s parenting knowledge, more stimulation in the home, reduced maternal depressive symptoms, and reduced staff burnout.

Research & Publications

  • Arteaga, Irma and Julieta Trias (2022). Can technology narrow the early childhood stimulation gap in rural Guatemala? Results from an experimental approach.
  • Trias, Julieta and Irma Arteaga (2024) “Home visitation or group intervention? Training parents on early stimulation in rural Guatemala” World Bank mimeo