History of the Peace Corps in Guatemala
The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Guatemala in 1963. Since then, more than 4,500 Volunteers have served in Guatemala, providing assistance to rural families in cooperation with governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). During an average year, approximately 200 Volunteers serve in Guatemala. Currently, Peace Corps Volunteers are assigned to work on projects related to agriculture, environment, health, small business development, youth at risk, and municipal development.
History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Guatemala Projects evolve with the changing needs and opportunities in Guatemala. Brief descriptions of our current projects follow.
Sustainable Agriculture Development
This project focuses on teaching small farmers to produce non-traditional crops and raise small animals for either family consumption or the local market. Agricultural production Volunteers provide training in organic production techniques, soil management, and utilization of local resources.
Marketing Volunteers teach farmers basic marketing tools to improve family incomes, including financial record-keeping and analysis of production costs, market and price analysis, production planning, and post-harvest management.
Conservation and Management of Natural Resources
Volunteers assigned to this project work with small farmers to manage woodlots for sustainable yields. Volunteers teach technical aspects of plant production systems, agroforestry systems, and various reforestation methods.
Community Environmental Management
Volunteers assigned to this project train community members to minimize the human impact on natural areas and buffer zones or multiple-use public lands. Project activities include environmental education, solid waste management, and ecotourism.
Volunteers in this project facilitate health education with accredited Guatemalan primary school teachers, who are trained by the Volunteer to teach health lessons. Volunteers teach students about health and personal hygiene, assist in developing training workshops for teachers, and work with parent-school committees to promote school sanitation.
Appropriate Technology for Family Health
Volunteers in this project teach rural families about health and simple technologies that can improve family health conditions. Volunteers work directly with families and community groups to build technologies such as improved cooking stoves, water systems, and waste treatment facilities (e.g., latrines).
Small Business Development Sector
Small Business Development
Volunteers in this project teach basic business management skills to small business entrepreneurs and youth so that they can make better business decisions.
Municipal development Volunteers work with personnel from rural governments to strengthen government ability to provide basic services and infrastructure to isolated areas. Volunteers train rural communities to identify, prioritize, program, execute, and evaluate community development projects.