Located in Central America, Guatemala has a population of almost 17 million people, of which more than 6 million are children and adolescents. Many of these children face chronic malnutrition, poor access to quality education, and unsafe migration.
Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic malnutrition in children in all of Latin America, affecting 46% of children under five. This percentage increases to 68% in the Western Highlands where the population is predominantly Indigenous.
Less than half of children who complete primary school obtain satisfactory results in reading tests and maths tests.
A complex crisis of violence and poverty has also forced large numbers of families and unaccompanied children to flee Guatemala for safety and protection in the US. In recent years, the rates of children who have been returned to Guatemala are increasing. In 2018, a total of 13,530 migrant children were returned to the country, of which 40% were travelling alone.
Save the Children has been working in Guatemala since the 1976 earthquake, when we provided urgent humanitarian assistance to affected children and families. In 1983, our country office was permanently established.
We work with the government, civil society and local authorities to help the most vulnerable children in the country. Together, we are strengthening education, health and nutrition systems, protection systems, children right's governance, and humanitarian response.
Through our ongoing programmes, we're working to address the causes of migration and to support the reunification of children on the move.
Our education work focuses on the early years and supporting reading and writing initiatives, including intercultural bilingual education.
We're improving the health and nutrition of children and their families in the Western Highlands by providing the tools, training and understanding of healthy diets necessary to prevent and treat malnutrition.
With civil society, we're promoting changes and improvements in legislation and public policies on child protection. Our goal is to ensure that all children are protected.
1a. Avenida 9-33, Zona 9, Guatemala City