The Community Roots (PRC) project, implemented by World Vision Guatemala and Research Triangle International (RTI), addresses violence and migration in disadvantaged communities through strategies that increase economic opportunities, promote community participation, as well as strengthen and develop governance at the municipal and community level.

The project directly supports the objectives of the Government of Guatemala and the United States to promote development and reduce violence in specific areas.

GEOGRAPHICAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC APPROACH

Community Roots works in the departments of Chiquimula, Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, Totonicapán, Sololá, and Huehuetenango in 23 municipalities and with 92 communities. The project is focused on boys, girls, youth, and women between the ages of 8 and 24 in communities that are characterized by high levels of crime, irregular migration or both.

CONTEXT AND CHALLENGES

According to National Civil Police statistics, Guatemala had a homicide rate of 26.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016, which is much higher than the recent world average of 5.3 per 100,000 inhabitants (World Bank, 2015). The onslaught of drug trafficking, combined with the rise of violent youth gangs or “maras,” threaten stability and democratic governance in Guatemala, along with a lack of economic opportunity and limited civic engagement that drive people to leave the country and contribute to irregular migration. This can further punish the poorest migrants, who become victims of human trafficking and crime.

APPROACH AND RESULTS

Community Roots is focused on creating management capacities at the community level with the aim of guaranteeing the sustainability of the actions. In addition, it adopts a participatory development approach, working closely with community members and leaders at the community and municipal level, and in this way identify the challenges they face in each of their communities and thus create prevention plans to address them.

Through the ADAPT Plus methodology, the project has worked with COCOPRES, COMUPRES, the National Civil Police, representatives of municipal technical offices, local councilors, and other organizations to develop and implement community and municipal plans for the prevention of violence and migration. The transversal axes of gender, inclusion, cultural relevance, and care for the environment are taken into account in all project activities. In addition, it establishes alliances with the private sector to seek training, job, internship, or educational opportunities for young beneficiaries in coverage areas, as well as complementary activities focused on violence prevention.

It has also established a community-based referral system, through which a network of organizations identifies and refers children and youth who may be eligible for the project's secondary prevention services. These services include alternative education opportunities and psychosocial support services. The project conducts training with these networks and is currently systematizing the secondary prevention model. These activities are part of the project's efforts to build capacities and support the long-term sustainability of the networks.

This project is expected to run from December 15, 2016 through December 14, 2023 with an estimated total USAID investment of $40,000,000.

USAID’s implementer for this project is World Vision.