Year Joined MKLM: 1982
Country: El Salvador
City: San Salvador
Project(s): Health through Nutrition Soy Project
People Served: More than 8,500 people
Project Goal(s): Provide Salvadoran families with better nutrition and health through the use of soybeans
Ann Greig is a U.C. Davis-trained dietician who joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1982. She came to MKLM from Chula Vista, CA, part of the Diocese of San Diego. Her first placement was in Peru, where she served for nine years. She has served in El Salvador since 1993.
Ann’s work in El Salvador focuses on nutrition and health education. Working in coordination with different parishes, communities and the National University of San Salvador, Ann was a founder of the Soya Program in 1994. This project, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, was designed to improve the health of poor Salvadorans, especially pregnant women and malnourished children. Ann also works with a network of medical and childcare specialists and trains them to support families through education and care.
In 2007, Ann registered Health through Nutrition as the legally recognized Nutravida de Association (or, Nurture Life Association), allowing her to import her own soybeans and to develop a variety of soy products. One product in particular, (a recipe of toasted sorghum flour, toasted soy flour, cinnamon and sugar), can be taken as a cold or hot beverage, or used for baking. This product became available for consumer purchase in February, 2010 and its profits are reinvested in the long-term sustainability of the soy project.
Health through Nutrition primarily serves San Ramon, a barrio of San Salvador, with approximately 250 individuals from 50 families coming daily to pick up fresh soy milk. Besides the sale of milk, other products are also offered such as soy cookies, rice, beans and banana soy bread. The enterprise requires 100lbs of soy every week to maintain these offerings! Costs are kept low for families that participate in the program ($6 monthly for soy milk) to ensure nutrition is accessible.
The program also coordinates with other NGOs and parishes on nutritional education and provides workshops that teach Salvadorans to prepare soymilk and soy products. Trained representatives also promote and sell the soy products in their parishes and/or communities, with proceeds helping to fund the continuation of the program. As another opportunity to help families gain education, the program also offers computer classes, in a limited capacity, for children and adults.