The Development Fund works in the highlands of Guatemala. This is where indigenous people live most densely, where climate change is most noticeable, and where access to soil and general infrastructure is most inadequate.

Small-scale agriculture is the most important livelihood in rural areas. But the ever smaller plots of land that are distributed, on steep slopes with heavy erosion due to extreme weather, make life as a small farmer tough. It is hard to gain access to credit, and many migrate out of the country or, as day workers, to plantations in the lowlands. This affects both family structure and the conditions under which children are brought up.

There is also a fight going on to preserve various Maya languages, cultures and traditions. Private companies are constantly trying to gain access to indigenous people’s territories, often through infrastructural projects and without any kind of dialogue with the local population. Corruption among the elite and impunity for politicians have the result that many wounds from the civil war, which are particularly born by Maya women, are never healed.

Key Facts

- Capital: Guatemala City
- Population: 17 million
- HDI: Guatemala occupies the 125th place, with a score of 0.494 on the UN’s Gender Inequality Index (in comparison, Norway has a score of 0.053)*

UNDP Human Development Report 2016

Food security and nutrition

The Development Fund works to strengthen food security and improve nutrition for 11,530 families in Guatemala and Nicaragua. Our projects include, inter alia, education in sustainable agricultural techniques, and a focus on a larger number of crops and on traditional protein-rich plants. Local seed banks with climate-adapted, robust seeds and small-animal husbandry are supported as part our work for food security and improved nutrition. Click on this link to read more.

Climate and environment

Guatemala is, along with other countries in the region, heavily affected by climate change. Cyclones, drought and flooding occur with ever greater frequency. A more sustainable management of natural resources is crucial for the country’s ability to face the challenges of the future. Our projects comprise, inter alia, participatory forest management to reduce deforestation, rebuilding of lands degraded by exhaustion and erosion, local climate adaptation in agriculture, and preservation of and secure access to high-quality seed. Click on this link to read more.

Economics and access to markets

Agriculture is the most important source of income for poor families in Guatemala. In order to secure incomes and alternative income sources in the future, it is necessary to achieve improved market access for small farmers, increased participation in the entire value chain, and access to credit and business training. Because of widespread migration of young people out of the region, it is of particular importance to offer this group new knowledge and real opportunities. The Development Fund’s projects include, inter alia, establishment of farmer’s collectives to enhance market access, access to microcredits and saving, and also business training for young people. Click on this link to read more.

Participation, equality and indigenous peoples

A strong and inclusive civil society is important for building democracy and achieving social development. In Guatemala, the Development Fund seeks to strengthen civil society by establishing various kinds of grassroots organizations and taking measures to strengthen our local cooperation partners. Click on this link to read more.