Community Development Nonprofit Organizations in Guatemala

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Many community development nonprofits in Guatemala have positively impacted numerous populations throughout the country. These organizations’ initiatives have empowered the Guatemalan people and, as a result, enabled them to thrive.

Community development, as an area of study, began in the late 1960s with the creation of the Community Development Society in the U.S. This organization allowed for the study of community development and educated attendees on how to build stronger communities. In the 70s and 80s, more community development programs emerged and began to finance impoverished areas throughout the United States. Unfortunately, this concept has struggled to take hold on a large scale in Guatemala and many communities are left to struggle as a result.

Defining “Community Development” can be challenging due to the various definitions that exist. Pionero Philanthropy however uses the UN interpretation to help categorize nonprofits in Guatemala for example on its nonprofit map and in its database.

The United Nations defines Community Development as;

“A process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.”

Community development is crucial for the growth and prosperity of Guatemala. This practice lays down the foundation for a healthier, more positive, population to form. Furthermore, community development impacts nearly every area of life, including, education, health, and employment. As these areas are interrelated, the implementation of Community Development projects is especially important in developing countries such as Guatemala.

Community Development in Guatemala

Many Guatemalan community development nonprofits have established themselves within the country. As a result, a variety of different initiatives have been implemented. These initiatives assist Guatemalan people by improving education, health, housing, agriculture, and more.

Guatemala needs community development nonprofits and initiatives now more than ever. Almost 60% of the population lives in poverty and nearly 25% of Guatemalans are illiterate.

In addition, 1 in every 2 children is malnourished. These vicious cycles will, inevitably, repeat themselves if steps are not taken to stop them. Guatemalan community development nonprofit organizations assist in eliminating some of these disparities and aim to better each individual, which ultimately, benefits the community and country as a whole.

Almost 60% of the population in Guatemala lives in poverty

Highlight Partner Nonprofit #1 – EntreMundos

This community development nonprofit was founded in 2001 and aids in strengthening and supporting social initiatives throughout Guatemala. EntreMundos acts as a support mechanism for nongovernmental organizations, community initiatives, and grassroots organizations with humanitarian missions. Without EntreMundo’s support, many of these organizations would find it challenging to continue to change lives and communities in the way that they do now. EntreMundos is currently working in 17 of the 22 departments of Guatemala, making their support to these various initiatives and organizations crucial to community development efforts in the country.

EntreMundos is also able to support other community development efforts through the programs they have created. The Capacity Building Program and the Volunteer Program are the two key methods that this nonprofit uses in its’ framework to support othernon-governmental organizations. These programs allow attendees to maximize the resources around them through means of education and activism.

The first program that EntreMubdos has created is The Capacity Building Program. This program consists of certification programs, courses, and over 150 workshops that educate on topics like institutional strengthening and construction and development of the sustainability of an organization. The second programthat EntreMundos has created is the Volunteer Program, which consists of three different services, volunteer coordination, an internship, and a community learning service for groups. The goal of these different services is to connect people who have certain skills and experiences with the needs of organizations. As a result, both parties benefit and obtain valuable learning experiences while achieving a greater positive impact on community development.

Training session at Entremundos
The Capacity Building Program and the Volunteer Program are two key methods EntreMundos uses in its’ framework to help support othernon-governmental organizations.Source: EntreMundos

Highlight Partner Nonprofit #2 – Seres

Seres has been empowering at-risk youth in Guatemala since its’ conception in 2009. The organization also provides professional and personal development skills that enable at-risk youth to be positive catalysts of change within their communities.

This community development nonprofit empowers youth in five different methods; training and capacity building, resource centers, coaching and mentoring, local, regional and global networking, and youth-led development projects support. These methods allow young people to invest in building a better future for themselves, become leaders of positive change, and uplift their communities.

Furthermore, Seres also organizes Leadership Training for young people from marginalized backgrounds. This program consists of three modules that students progress through. Seres also has a Community Center that provides a space for youth that is conducive to positive growth and development. Finally, the Eco-Social Enterprise initiative aids in the development of locally-led eco-social enterprises that facilitate a healthier financial community.

Seres has worked with and empowered over 5,000 young people in Guatemala. As a result, hundreds of communities and been changed for the better. By giving at-risk youth the necessary tools needed to grow, thousands of young people have been able to transform themselves, and their communities, into a positive, flourishing society.

Students sitting and learning about community development In the grass
Leadership Training initiatives provide young people from marginalized communities with transformative leadership training. Source: Seres Website

Highlight Partner Nonprofit #3- Long Way Home

Long Way Home believes in environmental justice through programs like green building, employment, and education. This Guatemalan community development nonprofit organization creates opportunities and facilitates skill-based education that equips local communities with the necessary tools in order to thrive.

One of the central features of this organization is the Green Building program. This program began in 2008 after the purchasing of almost 2 acres of land in Guatemala. Waste, like tires, was collected from the surrounding areas to build up a school created from recycled materials. Today, a school complex made of over 450 tons of waste and 15,000 tires, stands on the property.In addition to the recycled material, the ecological footprint of every structure in the complex is also taken into consideration. Thus, Long Way Home is taking maximum advantage of their environment while ensuring a minimal impact.

28 teachers, along with over 120 students, ages 5-11, attend the Long Way Home school every day. Education at the site involves the implementation of the innovative ESD-oriented curriculum. This curriculum gives the next generation the tools necessary to deal with the current challenges facing their communities. The students at the school also help lead green construction projects in the community as well as develop critical thinking skills in the process. In addition to education, employment opportunities are also available to help increase the individual’s skill set.

Tires, along with other recyclable wastes, help create the 18 buildings comprising the school complex. Source: LWH Website

How To Support Guatemalan Community Development Nonprofits

Community development, as demonstrated above, is crucial for the continued development of Guatemala. This practice empowers individuals by giving them the tools needed for growth and inspires them to change their communities. Therefore, community development is a necessity for both Guatemala as a country and its’ people.

For nonprofits like these to continue their work, however, they need support.

Community development is a large undertaking, requiring both large amounts of time and money. By donating your time or making a monetary donation, you are ensuring that community development nonprofits can continue their work. Organizations, like EntreMundos, Seres, and Long Way Home, use donations to maintain and expand their programs throughout the country.

If you would like to support community development nonprofits in Guatemala, Pionero Philanthropy can help you make an informed decision!

Pionero Philanthropy assesses nonprofit partners and provides analysis on how they perform in 5 key areas; Sustainability, Transparency, Efficiency, Impact, and Need/Relevance. 

By accessing Pionero Philanthropy’s interactive map, you can filter nonprofits operating in Guatemala according to rating, theme, region, and more. Then, select the nonprofits that appeal to you most and access their full reports instantly! Pionero Philanthropy also provides consulting services to assist further in the matching process should potential donors require more support.