What we do
36 years working in Guatemala
Plan started its work in Guatemala in 1978, as a result of the damage caused by the 1976 earthquake. At present it invests an average of $10 million annually to build a Community Development effort together with rural communities with children at the center of its priorities. Plan is currently present in 4 departments of Guatemala: Alta and Baja Verapaz, Izabal and Jalapa, in 15 municipalities with a population of 1,028,133 persons who participate directly or indirectly in the programs that it implements. Plan Guatemala has close to 36,663 sponsored girls and boys in 638 communities.
Plan Guatemala's Programs
Special care from the early years of children’s lives
This program seeks to promote a healthy and dignified environment in the first 6 years of life of boys and girls. The importance of maternal health is addressed through this program, with interventions that include pregnancy and childbirth care, the care for boys or girls in their early childhood, which is essential to the life cycle, as this is when the foundations for a person’s abilities, skills and potentials are developed. In addition, the registration of births, nutrition, food security, water conditions, hygiene, protection, early and preschool education and improvement of family economic security issues are addressed.
The “Inclusive Schools” program seeks to ensure that girls and boys from Plan communities attend schools that promote good hygiene practices, participatory processes and the protection of girls and boys against violence. To accomplish this, the focus is placed on ensuring access by indigenous girls to primary school, where bilingual education is supported, as well as ensuring primary education completion in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and in partnership with local and civil society organizations.
The Community-based Rehabilitation Program is a mechanism to include disabled children in school and community life. This effort started successfully in 2013 in 30 communities of Izabal.
There are 354 school governments supported by Plan. At present, school governments continue to play an active role in schools, particularly in the leadership of projects to benefit schools and communities.
This year, Plan introduced the Aflatoun education program in 4th to 6th grades in Plan schools. Aflatoun facilitates the transmission of knowledge and skills to make it possible for boys and girls to become socially and economically empowered to break the circle of poverty.
The “Skills for Life” program addresses comprehensive actions for adolescents between 13 and 18 years of age, particularly indigenous women, to have the skills and abilities to be able to carry out their life projects and find more development opportunities. To accomplish this, components are prioritized which influence the life cycle of adolescents: physical, mental health, sexual and reproductive rights, HIV-AIDS prevention, violence and sexual abuse prevention, school completion, professional training and citizen participation, among others.
Efforts are made through every activity to strengthen the organization and leadership of adolescents for them to be capable of promoting human rights in their communities and of collaborating with local authorities. They also receive help to participate in making decisions in different areas of family, community, municipal and department level work.
2,492 adolescents have been able to gain access to high school education with school scholarships.
Citizenship for development
The “Citizenship for Development” program seeks to improve governance by strengthening the abilities of the State and of the citizens to overcome exclusion and discrimination of the most vulnerable groups. The program helps the State, particularly at the municipal level, to improve its technical and management capacity for the use of resources earmarked for children and adolescents to be more efficient. To accomplish this it is essential for the State to carry out a number of public policies which are applied and justified with adequate accountability. Parallel to this government cooperation work, the program promotes awareness raising of the citizens on their rights, with special emphasis on children and adolescents, in order to bring about changes for the grassroots, and provides access to decentralized citizen participation for a such as the Development Council System.
To be protected from natural disasters and threats
The Program “Protecting Children from Disasters” promotes comprehensive prevention and preparedness actions in the light of disasters, by strengthening municipal, community and school-level capacity. Emphasis is placed on organization, training and risk management plan development.
In situations of emergency and disasters, Plan supports the provision of humanitarian aid and focuses on the protection and prompt recovery of education for children after a disaster. This helps them recover from the negative effects of disasters.
Plan also supports 303 School Management Committees for Risk Reduction. Among them, 138 have a School Response Plan. Through this initiative, a total of 1,917 boys and girls, 426 families and 868 teachers are involved in risk prevention and preparedness efforts in the case of disasters in their schools.
“After the November 7, 2012 earthquake that hit the Western region of the country, Plan provided emergency relief through its partnership and strategic alliance with CENADICE. This organization has expertise in the management of emergencies, and addressed 6 communities of the municipality of San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango, and with CARE, the humanitarian aid organization that is part of REDHUM, and is present in San Marcos.
The support provided by Plan in prioritized areas involved the delivery of food, inputs and cleaning supplies for shelters, family hygiene kits, blankets, caps and Christmas celebrations: celebration (food), piñatas, gifts, food baskets and psycho-social care.
Immediately after the earthquake, Plan formed three brigades of volunteers and psychologists from the School of Psychology of the State University of Guatemala, who were given materials and specific inputs to provide psycho-social care in 6 shelters.
Child protection activities included psycho-social activities that seek to promote opportunities to facilitate emotional expression. This helps overcome the pain for their losses, as well as the mental damage suffered by the community. The situation was difficult for the victims. Fernando Fuentes, the coordinator of the brigade, commented on the shelters that were organized in schools and churches, many of them with no walls, and with limited protection from the climate.In cooperation with local authorities and CARE, Plan also provided relief for 650 families that were seriously affected in 13 communities of the Municipalities of San Pedro Sacatepéquez, Esquipulas Palo Gordo and San Antonio Sacatepéquez in the Department of San Marcos.”