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Christian Aid in Guatemala

Guatemala is a country of contrasts: flooding and drought, wealth and poverty, agricultural exports and food shortages.


Despite being considered a middle income country, and the fifth largest exporter of coffee and sugar in the world, many people in Guatemala are suffering horrific poverty.

Half of all children under five are malnourished, which permanently affects physical and mental development. The levels of maternal mortality are among the highest in the region and haven’t dropped in the last 15 years.

Climate and environment

Guatemala is at risk from floods, storms and hurricanes for six months of the year. The UN’s climate change panel has warned that storms will get more frequent and more intense.

In addition, a central swath of land called the dry corridor suffers from droughts which cause food shortages. Deforestation, slash and burn agriculture and farming methods on plantations make matters worse for poor communities.


Guatemala has very high levels of crime and gang violence which affect security and the rule of law. Women and young people are even more vulnerable because of gender-based violence and the exclusion of young people. Both groups face high unemployment and poor access to healthcare, education and culture.

Our vision for Guatemala is a fair and equal society, free from violence, achieved through democratic and accountable institutions, and more resilient communities based on a fairer economic model that allows marginalised people, especially women and youth, to take advantage of development.

Christian Aid works with partner organisations to address economic inequality, help communities prepare for natural disasters and promote non-violent alternatives to conflict. Our partners include organised civil society groups who are trying to combat the problems of violence, inequality and climate change.

Further content

More on Central America

Central America Strategy 2013-2018: English (PDF, 0.1mb) | Spanish (PDF, 0.5mb)

Latin America and the Caribbean strategy English (PDF, 1.7mb) | Spanish (1.7mb)

Tax to help the poor: English (PDF, 0.1mb) | Spanish (PDF, 0.2mb)

Tackling violence, building peace: English (PDF, 0.3mb) | Spanish (PDF, 0.3mb)

Fair shares in a constrained world: English (PDF, 0.1mb) | Spanish (PDF, 0.2mb)