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Guatemala

Over the past two decades, Global Communities has worked tirelessly to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of Guatemalan communities while simultaneously laying the groundwork for long-term resilience and development. In 2023 – through a combination of emergency response, sustainable solutions and creative partnerships in Huehuetenango and beyond – we made significant strides in improving the lives of those most vulnerable to poverty, malnutrition and the impacts of natural disasters.

In Guatemala’s Western Highlands, prolonged periods of drought, the long-lasting economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasingly severe hurricane seasons have left many Indigenous families struggling to access nutritious food due to crop failures, lack of income and limited access to markets. High levels of malnutrition among children in the region are of particular concern, with rates of stunting and wasting well above national averages.

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At the beginning, everything seemed like a dream. Now, we see that it is possible with the ideas they gave.

Elsa

Podemos program participant

With funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, Global Communities worked to address these challenges through the Podemos (“We Can”) program. One aspect of our approach was the distribution of multi-purpose cash assistance, which helped to enhance food security in the region and provide more than 4,800 households with critical support to meet their basic needs. We also helped promote economic recovery by assisting participants with establishing savings and loans groups and supporting small productive enterprises.

In addition to providing meals to thousands of students, our school feeding and education programs also integrated activities around bilingual literacy (Spanish-Mayan languages), nutrition, family/local agriculture and women’s empowerment. By purchasing food locally, we helped link 21 farmers (women and men) to schools, thus increasing their incomes and diversifying their production. Global Communities also ensured the proper accreditation of 21 agricultural suppliers by relevant government authorities.

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Thanks to the support [Podemos has] given me and my family, now I do not need to travel far to find work with my children.

Juana

Podemos program participant

Another important 2023 achievement was a strategic endeavor aimed at enhancing the capacities of Guatemala’s disaster risk reduction and response agency (SECONRED). Key outcomes included the development of institutional communication plans, national education programs and updated guides for municipal instances of disaster risk management.

Notable Numbers

Multi-purpose cash assistance distributed to 4,846 families living in poverty and extreme poverty or at risk of malnutrition, with illnesses, disabilities or senior citizens

 

Students who participated in school feeding and education programs

Families who are participating in the generation of water management improvement plans for their communities

 

Women participating in 160 savings and loans groups

Women who received prenatal and postnatal care at Casa Materna, a shelter for women with high-risk pregnancies near the Regional Hospital of Huehuetenango

Educators who were certified in the use of literacy teaching methods

Households that benefited from floor, wall or roof repairs to ensure safety and well-being (525 homes with USAID funds; 54 homes with funds from USAID and CEMPRO) 

 

Income-generating enterprises supported (44% - fruit tree plantation; 28% - livestock activities; 18% - agricultural activities; 9% - mushroom production; 1% - forest nursery)

Municipal governments, alongside 54 communities, who signed letters of understanding and collaboration to strengthen their capacities for the management and administration of WASH systems