About 54 percent of the general population lives in poverty, compared to 80 percent of the rural population, where the majority of the indigenous population lives. Fertile land — the most important means of production in this agricultural economy — is concentrated in the hands of a few.
Land reform since the end of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war in 1996 has advanced in fits and starts. Chronic insecurity and high crime rates in the country, especially in urban areas in and around Guatemala City, further limit economic potential. Guatemala also struggles with government corruption, crippled infrastructure, and high rates of malnutrition.
- Conflict & Governance: Strengthening local violence prevention initiatives and linking to national initiatives for a holistic and integrated approach to decreasing violence and crime rates.
- Agriculture & Food: Providing nutrition education to mothers with young children, and helping small farmers diversify and trace crops, improve quality and increase revenues.
- Health: Providing health and hygiene education to build healthier communities.
All stories about Guatemala
Guatemala: Rapid response gets food to families after earthquake
Mercy Corps works in some of the poorest communities in western Guatemala — which were at the epicenter of the 7.4 earthquake that struck the country on November 7, 2012.
Guatemala: Speeding relief to earthquake survivors
Mercy Corps is providing emergency food for families affected by the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Guatemala last week.
Guatemala: Amanda's mission: Women helping women
Amanda Sacul’s job is twofold: to mediate disputes over land — disputes that prevent families from moving forward economically — and to train other indigenous women how to resolve these conflicts themselves.
Guatemala: Planting better crops
Seven-year-old Ancel Cual excitedly gets his hands dirty helping to plant yucca in his community of Corozal in the northern highlands of Guatemala.
Guatemala: A seat at the table: Empowering women in land-conflict mediation
Mercy Corps has been at the forefront of the movement to resolve land conflict in rural Guatemala since 2003. Meet the women who are now leading the charge.
Guatemala: Women stake their claim in the land of machismo
Their roots of land conflict may date to the Spanish conquistadors, but today we’re giving women the tools to resolve them without resorting to lawyers or guns.
Guatemala: Land ownership yields stronger, healthier communities
Families in the rural highlands are dependent on the land, but years of civil war have diminished resources. Find out how they are rebuilding from the ground up.
Guatemala: Marching for change
Hundreds of women in Guatemala paraded through the streets of Cobán on March 8 — International Women's Day — with a palpable feeling of pride and hope for the future.
Guatemala: Fresher food, better nutrition, happier families
In the northern highlands of Guatemala, the signs and symptoms of malnutrition are a common sight: stunted growth, underweight bodies and visible fatigue.
Guatemala: Rural micropharmacies offer medicine for all
Sustainable Community Health Stores is a new way of addressing the rural healthcare problem. It helps local families start small businesses while providing much-needed medicines in underserved communities.