The story of agricultural diversification—the change from growing only basic grains for family consumption to growing a diverse group of crops sold in national and international markets—is the story of thousands of farmers in the Guatemalan Highlands that has increased incomes, jobs, and opportunity, transforming hundreds of thousands of lives.
Yuri Tecún is an exception to the rule. Thanks to a USAIDbacked scholarship program, she was able to attend university, unlike many other young girls in Guatemala.
"We are bridges; we build bridges for a better future," says Gladys Marisol Soto. She is 29, a mother of two: 3-year-old Selvin David and 11-month-old Joshua. As a housewife from a rural community in Pedro Jocopilas, on the south coast of Guatemala, Gladys received a visit at her home from a USAID-sponsored community facilitator.
The remote rural highlands of Guatemala were the most affected by the 36-year civil war. Mayan families, particularly women and children, suffer the economic and social consequences of severe lack of education, health, and income generation opportunities.
USAID's Youth Leadership and Employability Skills Program helped disenfranchised young Guatemalans abandon conflict and discrimination in favor of more productive ways of living and working.
Last updated: November 20, 2014