Through an extensive consultative process with numerous stakeholders, USAID identified two significant underlying challenges to successful development in Guatemala, namely historic inequality that remains ingrained in Guatemalan society, and weak government that lacks the necessary capacity and controls to address insecurity and poverty.
Taken separately, each of these driving forces contributes to increased crime, high levels of poverty, and some of the lowest health and education indicators in Latin America. As a result of the two factors, Guatemalans lack protection against organized crime, face vulnerability to natural disasters, and struggle to feed and educate their children.
Based on decades of experience, USAID takes innovative steps to focus and concentrate programming that significantly enhances development outcomes in two principal ways:
- Programs are implemented in sectors (health, food security, local governance, environment, and others) in which USAID has a comparative advantage among donor organizations and in areas where clear windows of opportunity for country advancement exist; and
- Strong support is provided to the Government of Guatemala’s priority geographic area for food security via USAID projects in five departments (equivalent to U.S. states) in the Western Highlands where poverty and child chronic malnutrition levels are extremely high and where opportunity for economic development is strong. Specifically, economic growth, health, education, Food for Peace Program, and local governance activities will be co-located in target municipalities to take advantage of synergies and achieve improved program outcomes.
Last updated: September 25, 2014