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Leadership and Literacy of Indigenous Women in

More than 4,000 indigenous women have access to formal education and leadership processes.

The project will be oriented to facilitate access to literacy and formal education services for indigenous women who are illiterate or have low levels of formal schooling (initial literacy and post-literacy levels I and II, in accordance with the

National Literacy Program of Guatemala), with a focus on rights and empowerment. Participants are expected to be part of community organizational processes supported by other CARE programs and/or partners and allied organizations, seeking to optimize resources and the benefits of development cooperation for literacy and also to strengthen women’s leadership with political advocacy tools.

Its lines of work focus on training in rights, leadership, political advocacy and literacy.

Direct participants:



Direct participants:




Lancòme Francia


The four selected departments have poverty rates that exceed the national rate of 53.7%. The department of Quiché has 76.9%; Totonicapán 80.6%; Sololá 84.5% and Chimaltenango 78.7%[1]. Its population is also mostly indigenous and rural, which is precisely where poverty is concentrated.

One of the major difficulties faced by women that limits their participation in the diverse activities of their community is illiteracy, low schooling, limited access to land and employment. In many cases, they are involved in precarious labor activities, without access to social security. Their access to land and productive resources is very limited, only 15% of the beneficiaries of land programs are women and they face high levels of discrimination and racism, including in inheriting productive resources, due to patriarchal relations and machismo.

Additionally, Guatemala reports a high percentage of births among mothers who are girls or adolescents, which is 19.8% with respect to the total number of births, according to 2014 figures. This is equivalent to a total of 72,486 cases, among which there are several cases of girls between 11 and 14 years old. Mothers aged 15 reported 7.5% of the total, equivalent to 5,437 births[2].

In addition, 56 suicides of pregnant girls and children under 15 years of age were reported in 2016. The main causes of early pregnancies are: lack of information about their rights and a patriarchal, exclusionary and discriminatory system that does not allow them access to their basic rights to health, education, information and decent jobs.


Literacy and access to formal education for indigenous women to strengthen their rights in 4 departments of Guatemala.

Participating population

Young indigenous women, from 15 to 25 years of age and also adults from 25 years and older. Ninety-five percent are Mayan-speaking, mostly residents of rural areas. Participants are identified through a process of promotion and outreach developed by CONALFA in the communities. In 2018, some groups of organized women were identified, with the objective of creating conditions for the exchange of experiences, promoting community organization and strengthening leadership.


The National Literacy Committee -CONALFA-. As the governing body for literacy at the national level, its participation is key to achieving the desired changes; its objective is to promote the knowledge and exercise of women’s human rights, such as access to education and a life free of violence. The process implies that women, in addition to having reading and writing skills, improve their self-esteem, become informed about their rights, express themselves and demand those rights in public spaces (in health and school centers, municipal governments, etc.). Literate women are expected to increase their ability to make decisions about their own lives and take better advantage of the opportunities and benefits of development.

Expected results

  • Literacy and Training in Indigenous Women’s Rights (Initial Phase);
  • Literacy and Leadership Capacity Building (Phase I and II of post-literacy);
  • Political Advocacy for the implementation of the National Literacy Program with a focus on Women’s Rights in 4 Departments of Guatemala.

Execution Period

From January 2018 to December 2021

Coverage area