Guatemala’s population is the most ethnically diverse in Latin America. Nearly half of the country’s 13.4 million people are indigenous, spread out among more than 20 Mayan groups. Although the country boasts the largest economy in Central America, 75 percent of Mayans live in poverty, often in remote areas, with limited access to health services and schooling. Guatemala has one of the highest fertility rates in Latin America, with each woman bearing an average of 4.4 children over her lifetime. At its current growth rate of 2.8%, the country’s population will double in 22 years.
EngenderHealth has worked in Guatemala since 1985, collaborating with the Ministry of Public Health and the Guatemalan Social Security Institute to expand family planning services throughout the country. Most recently, our efforts focused on addressing the roots of poverty and high fertility by working with vulnerable girls.
Promoting the Health and Rights of Youth
EngenderHealth’s latest initiative, funded by the Nike Foundation, promoted youth participation and encouraged girls to learn social and economic skills. By creating safe spaces in their communities, connecting girls to peers and mentors for social support, and establishing girl-led advocacy activities, EngenderHealth and our partners provided rural girls with new opportunities for personal and professional development and leadership. This comprehensive approach linked health, education, and empowerment, and prepared the country’s most vulnerable girls to make fully informed decisions and have control over their sexual and reproductive health.