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Where We Work

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Central America and southern Mexico (Mesoamerica) is a rich, diverse region. At the same time this region has some of the greatest social inequities in the world today.

Mexico

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Though parts of Mexico are considered as “highly developed”, poverty is widespread in many regions of the country, especially in the southern states  where the majority of the population is Indigenous. In the state of Chiapas, over 76 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.

Guatemala

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Guatemala produces 30% of the wealth in Central America. The richest 20% of households control 60% of the wealth, while the poorest 20% have 2.9% of the country’s income. This unfair balance of assets makes Guatemala’s economy one of the most unequal in the world.

El Salvador

MAP El Salvador
El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, with over 333 people for every square km. Almost half the population lives in poverty without access to adequate health or education services. Because of increasing floods, drought, deforestation and soil erosion, many of their people don’t have enough to eat.

Honduras

Honduras Map
Honduras is considered one of the poorest countries in Latin America. It suffers from drought in the summer and floods and hurricanes in the rainy season – Hurricane Mitch killed 5,600 people and caused US$2 billion in damage in 1998. This kind of destruction is devastating to the poor who live off the land and count on healthy crops to feed their families every year.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua Map
Nicaragua is the second poorest country on the American continent: almost 80% of its six million people live in poverty on less than US $2 per day; 45% live in extreme poverty on less than US $1 per day (UNDP 2007/08). 53% of their population is under 18 years old, yet they spend the least on health and education per person in all of Latin America. Women and children are most severely affected by poverty – only 29% of children finish primary school; many have to work to help make ends meet.

Costa Rica

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Inequalities in Costa Rica have increased in the last decade even though the country as a whole has gotten richer. One out of every ten Costa Ricans struggles to survive on less than US $2 per day.

Panama

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In Panama, almost four out of ten people live below the poverty line: almost 20% of the population survives on less than US$2 per day. The richest 20% of the population receive 60% of the national income while the poorest 20% receive only 2.5%.