Guatemala

The most populated country in Central America, Guatemala is located south of Mexico and borders Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize. Mountains, active volcanoes, and coastal plains fill the landscape.

  • Population: 143,890
  • Life Expectancy: 71 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 94%
  • School Enrollment: 96%
  • Land Mass: 42,042 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 74%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 32/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 2,740

Facts about Guatemala

Economic Development

Guatemala has a low unemployment rate at just over 3 percent; however, about 56 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line.

Child Protection

Children and adolescents remain vulnerable to high incidences of violent crimes.

Food & Agriculture

Almost half of children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition.

Education

Despite high school enrollment rates, many children do not finish school and many remain illiterate.

Guatemala flag

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Progress in Guatemala

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Developed disaster preparedness plans for schools, and worked with teachers to create emergency drills for students.

  • Increased family farm income by providing seeds, organic fertilizer, and technical assistance to ensure higher crop production.

  • Helped students gain critical skills for starting primary school by training mothers on how to provide them with early childhood education activities.

  • Increased food supplies for families by teaching them how to diversify crops, properly store grains for long-term use, and breed chickens.

  • Reduced the incidence of preventable diseases among children by providing them with vitamin supplements, immunizations, and hygiene education.

  • Improved the health of pregnant women by providing them with prenatal visits, vitamin supplements, tetanus shots, and HIV testing.

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    World Vision in Guatemala Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Guatemala to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 26,200 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Guatemala. Highlights include:

    • Providing relief supplies for families affected by natural disasters.
    • Reducing poverty by offering small business owners loans and other microfinance opportunities.

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    World Vision History in Guatemala

    World Vision assistance to Guatemala dates back to 1962. Sponsorship began in 1974. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments include:

    • Helping children attend school by providing them with transportation during the 1960s.
    • Providing food, nutrition information, and education to families struggling with poverty in the 1970s.
    • Improving lives by teaching women how to raise poultry, training farmers in soil improvement, and building sanitary latrines during the 1980s.
    • Assisting childrens education by providing school supplies and teachers’ salaries during the 1990s.
    • Helping communities increase economic development and raising HIV and AIDS awareness since the beginning of the 21st century.

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    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    The most populated country in Central America, Guatemala is located south of Mexico and borders Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize. Mountains, active volcanoes, and coastal plains fill the landscape. Guatemala is highly susceptible to hurricanes and subsequent flooding and mudslides.

    Natural resources include petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, and hydropower.

    Over half of Guatemala’s population is either mestizo—a mixture of Amerindian and Spanish descent—or of European heritage. Indigenous Amerindians make up the rest of the population. Spanish is the official language, but Amerindians speak 23 native dialects.

    History

    Guatemala declared independence in September 1821 after nearly 300 years of Spanish rule. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the country experienced relative stability under a series of dictators. In 1944, a group known as the October Revolutionaries instituted several reforms popular with rural indigenous peoples. A military coup in 1954 disrupted the reforms. By 1960, a group of rebels revolted, beginning a 36-year war—the longest civil war in Latin American history.

    The government signed a peace agreement in 1996, formally ending the conflict that had left more than 100,000 people dead, and nearly 1 million people displaced.

    In recent years, the elected administration has focused efforts on government and social reforms.

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    Prayer Requests for Guatemala

    • Farmers who are using better irrigation systems to increase their crop production.
    • The anti-violence programs hosted in local schools.
    • A drop in the violence that plagues the country year after year so children can grow up in a safe and caring environment.
    • The economy’s continued recovery and growth.