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Mayan and
Garifuna women

Project name

Mayan and Garifuna women, building a life with dignity and justice

Execution Period

30 months

Participating Population

30,000 women and men: 4,500 MMITZ members and their families (6 on average); 3,000 people from civil society and communities (local NGOs, community leaders, public officials).


Unión Europea

Project Description

Guatemala has a population of 14,713,763[1] million inhabitants (according to SEGEPLAN’s 2010 report) of which 60% are indigenous and 52% are women. Of this total, 45% live in conditions of poverty and extreme poverty, with the rural area being the most affected with 63%. The current context in Guatemala, in which human rights violations are systematic, has given rise to the criminalization of the work of indigenous women defenders of individual and collective rights; to violence, invisibilization and stigmatization of women defenders, who currently lack protection measures, self-care, etc. According to the diagnosis carried out by the Mesoamerican Women Defenders Initiative in 2012, 60% of the cases of violence against women defenders are provoked by public officials (police, municipal officials). The most affected women defenders are from rural areas (indigenous women), where discrimination, violence, racism and inequality are expressed in multiple social, political and economic aspects.

In this context, the Indigenous Women’s Movement Tz’ununija’ -MMITZ- and CARE through the implementation of the project “Mayan and Garifuna Women, building a life of dignity and justice” intend to contribute to Mayan and Garifuna women who face the permanent violation of their rights and fundamental freedoms, to have the technical, political and organizational management skills to promote, defend and exercise their rights. On the other hand, the project includes the articulation with other civil society organizations that defend human rights, as well as advocacy and joint work with the Justice System, to incorporate recommendations that allow justice operators to address cases of violence or violation of rights incorporating an ethnic and cultural diversity and gender equality perspective. In this way, these entities will contribute to the recognition and appreciation of the social role and importance of the work of Mayan and Garifuna women defenders. This action contributes to the construction of a democratic state, in which cultural diversity is respected and dialogue and consensus are promoted between the state and human rights organizations, strengthening democratic governance.

Coverage Area

  • Department of El Quiché: municipalities of Joyabaj, Cunen, Sacapulas, Zacualpa, Chajul, Chichicastenango, Santa Cruz del Quiché, Chicaman, Uspantan and San Andrés Sajcabaja.
  • Department of Izabal: municipalities of Estor and Livingston.