Launch date: 1998
Local staff : 58
Expatriates : 5
Population: 12 million inhabitants
Life expectancy : 70 years (2007)
Human Development Index : Ranking 121 out of 177
A high level of structural poverty is to blame for the country’s difficult circumstances over the past five years. It has also meant that, after hurricane Mitch, the situation in Guatemala is at its most critical for several years.
The drought suffered in recent years has meant a serious reduction in agricultural productivity. In 2002 there was a 60 per cent fall in the production of maize and garden vegetables. The reduction in family food supplies poses a serious threat to food security.
The progressive decrease in the international price of coffee has affected both jobs and wages in one of the most important productive sectors of the country.
The main causes of this structural poverty are: limited access to cultivatable land (unequal distribution), demographic pressure, the lack of revenue being generated by agriculture (a lack of knowledge about agricultural techniques, an agro-export model) and a lack of nutritional and health education in rural areas.
The weakened State has not succeeded in complying with the ambitious agreements made regarding peace and demographic consolidation. This poses a threat to both societal development and the country’s political stability.
Guatemala is constantly threatened by natural disasters, such as the recent tropical storm Stan, without local response and prevention strategies having been developed.
ECHO, OFDA, DFID, Italian Cooperation