Democratic influence in Guatemala

Photo: Per Bergholdt Jensen

We work to strengthen governance and intercultural democracy in the country. We promote opportunities for men and women in civil society, in particular indigenous peoples, to take action and gain democratic influence. We contribute to building a democratic, intercultural and gender-equitable State, where all the country's citizens have access to exercise their individual and collective rights freely.




Collective rights

We work to defend the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples – the Maya, Xinca and the Garifuna of Guatemala – so they can protect their lands and natural resources, their lifestyle and their cultures, traditions and languages. Approximately 50 percent of the Guatemalan population is indigenous, but due to historical discrimination, their influence is limited. Particularly the Mayan peoples have been excluded and oppressed throughout the history of the country and were victims of genocide during the civil war between 1960 and 1996.


We support the authorities of the indigenous peoples – in particular of the Mayas and the Garifuna of Guatemala. We empower their organizations and institutions so they are able to exercise influence and negotiate before the national authorities. We also work with Ancestral authorities of indigenous peoples to strengthen their management capabilities and ancestral systems of justice. Through this work, Oxfam IBIS aims at improving the democratic rights and the rule of law in Guatemala

Prevention of violence

Guatemala is one of the countries with the highest rates of crime and violence in the world. Oxfam IBIS works with civil society organizations to address the wave of violence and to create a culture of peace. We work to create alternative livelihoods for young people and to change mentality in society through information campaigns, especially in relation to gender violence.

Youth in Guatemala

Young people are one of our key priorities. The crime rate and violent deaths among young people in urban areas is among the highest in the world, and many fall into crime, poverty and addictions due to lack of viable alternatives. We address this situation by giving young people access to formal and vocational education, employment and democratic influence. We work to give young people opportunities to exercise their rights and fulfill their potential.


We work to level the inequality between men and women in Guatemala with a special focus on indigenous women. Indigenous women face double discrimination: as indigenous and as women. It is one of the country's most vulnerable groups to poverty, violence, access to employment and education. We want to help strengthen indigenous women's organizations to defend their rights and create a better future with equitable relationships between men and women.