Guatemala is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Latin America, and also one of the poorest places in the Western Hemisphere.
Poverty is concentrated among rural, indigenous populations. Guatemala is still experiencing the impact of 36 years of civil conflict, which destroyed social support systems and led to increased discrimination of indigenous groups.
Girl Up works with indigenous girls in the Totonicapan and Huehuetenango regions through programs like Saquilaj B’E and Abriendo Oportunidades. Indigenous girls have extremely limited access to education, health services, and opportunities.
While working alongside the UN, programs in Guatemala are centered around the following:
EDUCATION: giving girls who have fallen behind or dropped out of school a second chance at education.
HEALTH: training health-care workers and creating a peer education program so girls can learn and teach health and nutrition information to their friends.
SAFETY: implementing a zero tolerance policy for violence against women and girls.
LEADERSHIP: providing safe spaces for cultural and recreational activities, internships to gain hands-on job experience and workshops on topics like public speaking and financial literacy.