Close this search box.

Sustainable management for the conservation and restoration of the Mesophilic Forest of the volcanic foothills of four municipalities in the Naranjo River basin, San Marcos.

Project Name

Weaving voices of young indigenous women to defend their sexual and reproductive rights.

Execution period

February 2017 to 2020

It is part of the program:

Identity and Indigenous and Native Women’s Rights

Participating Population

Women from 13 to 18 years old

Direct participants: 4,600 women in their last year of primary school, who will be trained at different levels, as community leaders, trainers of trainers, they are women who live in the rural area of the K’che’ ethnic group of Totonicapán, they communicate in the Quiché language and Spanish, They are in the process of training, because of the conditions of their community, they limit themselves to answer only what they are asked, they need to develop their skills, family decisions are usually made by the father and very rarely do it as a couple, because of the machismo that exists in the area of work.

Community authorities are elected in community assemblies, where the participation of women is very low. In Totonicapán, there are only 3 women in the community authority structure called the board of directors of the 48 cantons.

Young women are a priority for CARE, especially to facilitate access to information and the exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights in order to make the right decisions for their lives. In Guatemala, pregnancy rates in adolescent girls and young women are alarming, reports of sexual violence have increased; social problems that need urgent attention, some of the indicators of the identity program are directly related to pregnancies, sexual violence, forced marriages, and access to information.


Summit Foundation

Rick Marin Endowment


  • MSPAS, through the health area of Totonicapán, which is responsible for the implementation of the sexual and reproductive health strategy in the department at different levels, family, community, is the lead entity for strengthening the capacities of people in the communities.
  • MINEDUC, as responsible for systematized education where sex education is mandated in the basic national curriculum, whose application is deficient, it is reduced only to the anatomy or reproductive organs of the human being.
  • Educational establishments whose responsibility is the systematic education of students
  • Parents because they are the first ones who should educate their children, but this is still deficient.


  • Health Poverty Action- HPA: working with both school and out-of-school youth on sexual and reproductive education in the department.
  • Health Center: which works on the issue in the communities with different groups including parents, implementing friendly spaces at strategic points.
  • Reproductive Health Observatory- OSAR: which monitors the progress and limitations of the issue in the department.
    Youth Reproductive Health Observatory- OSAR-JUVENIL: which in addition to monitoring progress, conducts workshops with young people at the departmental level.
  • Municipal Office for Children, Adolescents and Youth: responsible for implementing the municipal youth policy or creating one if it does not exist.
  • The network of responsible paternity and maternity, which is integrated by several organizations, works with sexual and reproductive rights in the department.
  • All these entities are committed to the comprehensive sexual health of children, adolescents and youth, so that they are informed, decide about their bodies and their functions, especially the exercise of their rights without discrimination by adults.

Project Description

The project will be aimed at facilitating training processes for young adolescent indigenous women so that they can learn about their sexual and reproductive rights, take better care of their health and make informed decisions about them. In a second stage, it is expected that young women will strengthen their leadership and their participation in youth platforms that advocate for the fulfillment and exercise of their human rights. It will also develop effective alliance building and the implementation of a joint advocacy strategy to create and/or strengthen mechanisms, policies and instruments that have been approved and/or are in the process of being approved with their respective public budgets, to provide information and high quality SRH services to young adolescent women, as well as access to comprehensive sexuality education, from the respective ministries of health and education.

CARE will play a leading role in promoting and facilitating strategic alliances and coordination with key actors to work together with civil society, women’s movements and networks to influence public policies and contribute to generate a change of greater impact and scale, and also to promote actions such as innovative awareness campaigns to influence changes in paradigms and imaginaries that sustain their exclusion and discrimination against young indigenous women, and to build solid support bases for young indigenous women to fully exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.


The 2 selected departments have poverty rates above the national rate of 53.7%: El Quiché: 76.9%; Totonicapán: 80.6%. Both departments have a high percentage of indigenous and rural population; poverty and extreme poverty are mainly concentrated in these populations. The schooling rate of young adolescent girls in diversified education is only 12.1% for Quiché and 10.1% for Totonicapán, while the national average is 24.9% for 2014. When compared to the rates for male adolescents, there are no marked differences (12.8% for Quiché and 7.8% for Totonicapán)7.

The percentage of births to adolescent girl mothers with respect to total births is 19.8% for 2014, in absolute numbers corresponding to 72,846 cases, registering several cases of girls between 11 and 14 years old; for the age of 15 years old, 7.5% of births were registered in that year, equivalent to 5,437 births8. In 2016 alone, 56 suicides of women occurred, some of them young pregnant adolescents. The lack of information about their rights, violence and a patriarchal, exclusionary and discriminatory system, coupled with the lack of effective public policies, do not allow them access to their basic rights to health, education, information and decent jobs, and are part of the triggering factors of this complex problem that violates their most basic human rights.

These are communities with a high percentage of Mayan K’iche’ population, poverty and extreme poverty, they live in rural areas, with few opportunities to obtain a high school degree, women must fulfill their role assigned by society of being mothers, taking care of the family, house and backyard animals. Little or no information on sexual and reproductive rights.

They work in commerce in the capital, they are employed in stores in the capital, Escuintla, Retalhuleu, their main crop is corn, in an unproductive area, migration to the United States, the means of access is dirt road and in very bad condition, scarcity of transportation.

Coverage area

Municipality of Totonicapán (4 communities): Coxom de la Aldea Chimente, Paimut, from the village Tzanixnam and the village Pachc.

Municipality of Santa María Chiquimula (5 communities): Casa Blanca, Xesaná, Chuachituj, Xebé, Chocorral.

Municipality of Momostenango (5 communities): Aldea San Vicente Buenabaj el Instituto por Cooperativa, Paloma, Xemuj, Xetená.