The economy is booming, and yet inequality in Guatemala is greater than in most Latin American countries. The infant and maternal mortality rates remain high and malnutrition and illiteracy are widespread. These problems plague indigenous communities in particular, which make up 40% of the overall population. Their economic plight has actually worsened in recent years.
Helvetas has been active in Guatemala since 1972. We work with local authorities to promote grass-roots initiatives of women and farmers. They strengthen their organizations and improve skills to increase production and income by collectively marketing their produce, such as vegetables, poultry and coffee.
Helvetas has also launched a training program for young people from small farms to learn how to start new lines of production in an entrepreneurial spirit and thereby improve their community’s economic situation. This project targets young people with a view to keeping them from migrating to the cities or to the US for want of prospects at home.
One major problem in Guatemala is access to clean water and functional sanitary facilities. Nationwide, not even half the population have clean water and latrines at their disposal. The local authorities are often unable to secure the water supply. Helvetas supports them in setting up municipal water offices and train sanitary technicians.
We have also been involved in creating so-called “healthy schools” equipped with clean water, sinks and toilets. The staff teaches basic rules of hygiene to pupils, e.g. to wash their hands and brush their teeth, which the schoolchildren then bring home to their families.
Visit the website of Helvetas Guatemala.
If you would like to know more about our work in Guatemala, click on each project for details.
3a. Calle 6-11, zona 9
Edificio Sánchez, 4o. Nivel - Oficina 42
01009 Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Phone: +502 2234-6883 al 85