Guatemala Conflict Vulnerability Assessment

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Legacies of Exclusion: Social Conflict and Violence in Communities and Homes in Guatemala's Western Highlands.

The purpose of this report is to provide USAID with a comprehensive assessment of social conflict and violence in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, particularly in the departments of Quiché, Totonicapán, San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, and Sololá. This report looks at the approaches used in USAID/Guatemala’s current Country Development and Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) (2012-2016), which has three major Development Objectives (DOs)—(1) greater security and justice for citizens; (2) improved levels of economic growth and social development in the Western Highlands; and (3) improved management of natural resources to mitigate the impacts of global climate change—in order to provide recommendations for the Mission’s 2017-2021 CDCS and inform current programming.

The assessment used the approach detailed in USAID’s Conflict Assessment Framework (CAF 2.0). The initial desk study reviewed relevant literature in order to identify the major dynamics of conflict and violence in the target region. This was followed by fieldwork conducted by a team including representatives from USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM), USAID/Guatemala, and country experts contracted by DI. The fieldwork included 80 interviews carried out in Guatemala City and in the Western Highlands, specifically in the departments of Quiché, Totonicapán, Huehuetenango, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, and Sololá. The team also conducted 15 focus groups in communities in the Western Highlands.

The violence in the Western Highlands is a systemic phenomenon that affects the full gamut of social interactions. The assessment revealed various important patterns of conflict between family and community, especially intrafamily violence, trauma, and health; the intergenerational gap; and how youth respond to the lack of livelihood options. It also revealed that adults in most communities have significant fears about youth rebellion, delinquency, and gangs, and these spur repressive community-based security responses. In addition to these family-related conflicts, the Western Highlands region experiences a variety of conflicts related to governance, land, and natural resource extraction industries.

Issuing Country 
Monday, January 25, 2016 - 2:45pm

Last updated: January 25, 2016