Results around the world – Guatemala

Guatemala is a lower-middle-income country that faces significant socio-economic, governance, human rights and security challenges. Despite consistent economic growth, poverty has increased  since 2006 and the country has one of the highest levels of inequality in Latin America, with 59% of the population living below the poverty line and 24% in extreme poverty. Poverty is particularly prevalent in rural areas with large Indigenous populations, and it disproportionately affects women and youth. Guatemala also has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world and is among the countries most affected by climate change. Despite improvements to the justice system, impunity and corruption continue to exacerbate human rights violations as well as poverty, violence and crime. Limited economic opportunities, security challenges and natural disasters have caused considerable numbers of Guatemalans to migrate abroad.

Women, especially Indigenous women, face additional challenges that include limited economic and job opportunities, limited participation in decision-making, and the risk of sexual and gender-based violence. The rates of Guatemalan girls and young women affected by early marriages and pregnancies, as well as by maternal and infant mortality, are particularly high.

Canada’s development program in Guatemala supports growth that works for all and inclusive governance, with a focus on Indigenous women and youth. Canada is helping to improve food security and nutrition while increasing climate change resilience and economic growth opportunities in the agricultural sector. Canada also supports Guatemala’s anti-corruption efforts and access to justice for the most vulnerable. Canada is engaged in building capacity for women’s organizations and supporting women leaders to ensure that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are integrated into all initiatives.

Through regional and multilateral funding, Canada also supports Guatemalan efforts to address security, impunity, regional migration, maternal health, the spread of infectious diseases, the effects of climate change and disaster risk management.

Key results

Through Canada’s support to the World Food Programme in 2017, 27,380 children between 6 and 23 months of age were provided with nutritious food to support healthy development; 4,121 families increased their resilience to climate change and natural disasters; 3,198 smallholder farmers increased their agricultural productivity; and 600 farmers (a majority of them women) were trained in business skills to enable them to access markets.

Between September 2015 and March 2017, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala investigated 52 criminal cases, identified and worked to dismantle 26 criminal structures, and filed 165 formal accusations against members of criminal networks. Through this initiative, 85% of public prosecutors in the Public Ministry’s investigation unit against impunity have strengthened their capacities in criminal analysis, preparation of investigation plans, special investigation methods—such as wiretapping, processing and presentation of evidence—and in litigation strategies and judicial arguments.

Canada’s support for the Integrity, Mobilization, Participation, Accountability and Transparency project, implemented by Transparency International, has supported mechanisms to help victims and witnesses of corruption file complaints. Through this mechanism, 2,146 complaints were made and followed up during 2017-18. At least 20 requests for public information were also submitted.

In 2017-18, the United Nations Population Fund provided comprehensive sexual education for girls, including on making choices and decisions about their education, sexuality, relationship formation/marriage, and childbearing. As a result, 37,899 primarily Indigenous adolescent girls at risk of, and affected by, child marriage are now better able to express and exercise their choices.

In 2017-18, with Canada’s support, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Guatemala trained 780 health practitioners to provide improved support to new mothers and newborn children. PAHO also trained 15 adolescent leaders to promote health and well-being in their local communities, and they in turn provided training to 53 of their adolescent peers, 60% of whom were indigenous.

Canada’s support for the Scaling up Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Guatemala project with the Tula Foundation contributed to the reduction of child and maternal mortality through the use of cellular phones and specialized health technology. In 2017-18, around 8,000 community and government health personnel were trained on community eHealth platforms and systems, and on data collection and management through innovative health technology systems.

The Reducing Gaps for Indigenous Peoples project in Totonicapán, implemented by Horizons of Friendship, trained 900 Indigenous traditional midwives on ancestral and current maternal, newborn and child health practices. The project helped nearly 10,000 pregnant women and new mothers benefit from a monthly supply of nutritional supplements to address Totonicapán’s 70% chronic malnutrition rate for children under five and iron deficiency in women of child-bearing age.

Through the Canadian Volunteer Cooperation Programs in Guatemala, implemented by Uniterra (World University Service of Canada and the Centre canadien d'étude et de coopération international) and Lawyers Without Borders, Canada was able to provide technical assistance to 17 local Guatemalan organizations, strengthening their capacity to respond to local needs and achieve sustainable development results.

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