Guatemala

Guatemala ranks as one of the most unequal countries in the world.


Challenges

Home to a multitude of ethnicities, cultures, and languages, Guatemala faces disparities rooted in historic and systematic injustices, which particularly affect its Indigenous peoples. One of the few nations with a majority-Indigenous population, Guatemala is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of economic disparity. While 55% of the general population lives in poverty and 15% lives in extreme poverty, these numbers rise to 80% and 30% for the Indigenous population, respectively.

The inequalities Indigenous peoples in Guatemala face extend beyond the economic sphere and into the health and educational systems. The government is obligated to provide support in these areas, but its programs and services continue to be under-resourced and underdeveloped. Indigenous peoples in Guatemala face alarming rates of infant and maternal mortality, along with chronic malnutrition. They also lack access to quality education that is culturally appropriate and recognizes, respects and preserves Indigenous languages.

All of these challenges exist in the wake of a 36-year civil war that has severely damaged Guatemala’s social fabric.


What We Do

Since 1976, we have partnered with Mayan-led organizations that work directly with impoverished, rural Maya communities (principally Maya K’iche’, Mam and Kaqchikel) in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. Our partners are experts at leading local projects that help make their communities:

  • Protect Indigenous rights and improve Indigenous women’s ability to generate income,
  • Promote the recovery and recognition of Mayan culture through intercultural bilingual education,
  • Improve health indicators and strengthen health systems for rural Indigenous peoples,
  • Empower women and combat gender-based violence.

Alongside our Guatemalan partner, the Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education (PIES), we launched the “Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Project” in 2016 – our largest initiative to date.


Gallery


Featured Projects

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Conservation and Protection of Mayan Textile Art of the Indigenous Women of Guatemala

Partner:
Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez (AFEDES)
Location:
Indigenous Maya Kaqchikel municipalities in the Departments of Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Project Duration:
Jul, 2017 – Jun, 2019

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Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health: Transforming Indigenous Lives (MNCH)

Partner:
Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education (PIES). This project is generously supported by Global Affairs Canada.
Location:
Department of Totonicapán, Guatemala
Project Duration:
Mar, 2016 – 2020

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Maternal, Newborn and Child Health – Guatemalan & Canadian Public Engagement

Partner:
Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education (PIES). This project is generously supported by Global Affairs Canada.
Location:
Canada and Department of Totonicapán, Guatemala
Project Duration:
May, 2017 Apr, 2019