The Guatemalan society is characterized by structural economic and social inequalities that lead to infringements on people’s economic, social and cultural rights. Particularly vulnerable are women, young girls, people with disabilities and the country's indigenous peoples, who make up a majority of the population. Together with partners in the country IM focuses on social mobilization and protection of democracy and human rights.

Despite being a democratic country with freedom and rights guaranteed by the constitution, there are many restrictions on participation in public life in Guatemala.

Weak institutions, discrimination against indigenous peoples and women, and a shrinking space for civil society make it difficult for vulnerable groups to claim their rights. Young and adult women, mainly peasant, indigenous, LGBTI and women living with disabilities are especially vulnerable. The country sees a high rate of domestic and sexual violence and high levels of pregnancies in girls and adolescents.

IM works, together with partners, to contribute to sustainable societal change within the areas of economic and social inclusion and civic space, focusing on the vulnerable groups mentioned above.

These are some of the objectives of IM’s work in Guatemala:

  • Sexual and Reproductive Rights (SRR) – strengthening women’s right to decide over their own bodies and sexuality, in order to decrease the prevalence of early or unwanted pregnancies and gender-based violence.
  • Fulfillment of human rights and protection of rule of law – empowering vulnerable groups so they can claim their human rights and the rights and freedom stated in the constitution.
  • Defense of democracy and protection of civil society actors – the civil society is an important part of a functioning democracy. Therefore, IM supports social movements in Guatemala, a work that is based on transparency and accountability.
  • Basic political participation on a community level – IM focuses on rural community-based work to empower women and indigenous people in order to increase their participation in public life and to make them socially and economically included in the society.

IM has been working in Guatemala since 1998 and the work is today carried out in collaboration with community-based organizations, NGOs, networks and external allies. The coverage focuses on the departments of Sololá, Totonicapán and Quiche.

They are fighting for youth rights

Incidejoven is a youth organization that fights for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the rights of LGBTQ people.

Photo: Erik Törner/IM