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New Grants

Asociación de Agricultores Ecológicos de la Laguna de Chicabal (ASAECO), $157,825 over three years; of counterpart committed, $174,555.

ASAECO will invest in training and infrastructure to improve the services that its members offer through its ecotourism complex. The goal is to increase income by attracting more visitors to Lake Chicabal and the nearby volcano. (GT-305)

Asociación Para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Juventud (ADESJU); of, $185,680 over three years; counterpart committed, $93,705.

ADESJU will offer a program of sports and cultural activities to 750 indigenous Maya Guatemalans in 25 affiliated community- based youth groups. It also expects to demonstrate to municipal authorities of Chiantla and Aguacatán the benefit of investing in its program to encourage young people to stay in school and to counter gang membership, alcohol and drug abuse, and migration to Mexico and the United States. (GT-306)

Asociación No Lucrativa Muj’bab’l yol (MBYL), $179,475, over three years, counterpart committed, $185,715.

MBYL will work with community radio stations to develop better programming; to improve technical skills that enable member-stations to promote awareness of the rights of indigenous Guatemalans; and to inform the public of the need for a regulatory framework conducive to the operation of community stations. The project will involve 60 radio technicians and should reach 66,000 listeners. (GT-307)

Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén (ACOFOP), $249,500 over three years, counterpart committed, $210,400.

ACOFOP will offer training and related technical assistance to enable community-forestry
organizations located in the Mayan Biosphere Nature Reserve to incorporate the responsible use of forest resources into the management of their plantations of the xate palm, whose leaves are used in the floral industry. The project is expected to benefit 200 Guatemalans directly and another 1,550 indirectly and will contribute toward preserving the biodiversity of the Mayan Reserve. (GT-308)

Proyecto de Salud Sangre de Cristo (PSSC) in Guatemala: $112,345 over three years; counterpart committed $105,850.

PSSC will work in four schools to improve the diet and general health of children and parents in marginal communities in the municipalities of San Pedro Ayampuc and Chinautla, department of Guatemala.

Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Inhat (ASOINHAT) $49,320 over 15 months; counterpart committed, $36,920.

ASOINHAT will work on a plan to raise funds for its bilingual, bicultural community school serving indigenous Chuj Guatemalans in the municipality of San Mateo Ixtatán. (GT-310)


Supplemental Grants

Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala (FECCEG), $68,900 over 18 months; counterpart committed, $299,696.

FECCEG will purchase a coffee roaster in order to meet the anticipated demand for its product. (GT-298-A3)

Comité de Desarrollo Campesino (CODECA), $62,758; counterpart committed, $91,196.

To sell loroco in the volume required in markets offering the best prices, CODECA will expand production to Monseñor Romero, a community located in the department of Suchitepéquez. (GT-300-A1)

Transforming Youth in Huehuetenango

The department of Huehuetenango in western Guatemala lies on the misty ridgeline of the highest mountain chain in Central America, its villages and plots of corn tucked into the lushly forested countryside. With few economic opportunities and a border shared with Chiapas, Mexico, Huehuetenango is becoming a lawless transit point for drugs and migrants en route to el Norte. The damaging effects of migration, trafficking and violence are taking their toll, especially on the young. Currently, more than half of all Guatemalans are under 20. Those with limited resources face inadequate access to education, which reduces their job prospects—problems compounded in Huehuetenango by a lack of transportation over the poor, often impassible, roads that twist through the rough terrain.

Asociación para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Juventud (ADESJU) is a grassroots organization whose 25 youth groups represent communities scattered across the municipalities of Chiantla and Aguacatán. It was founded in 2000 by 40 community organizers, most of indigenous descent, to improve the possibilities of young people in Huehuetenango. ADESJU transforms the priorities identified by each group into an impressive array of education offerings close to where participants live so that transportation is no obstacle to opportunity. Of the 750 individuals enrolled in ADESJU’s computer classes, cultural events and programs centered on sports and the arts, half are girls and young women. They are eligible for the same support that boys and young men receive from ADESJU toward complementing their education, an advantage not otherwise widely available in a culture where machismo still dominates.

ADESJU will use its IAF funding to work toward encouraging these young people to stay in their communities instead of migrating and to lead productive lives instead of resorting to crime and perpetrating violence. Because its mission is centered on the ability of individuals to articulate their needs so that they can address them, its project calls for training in leadership and negotiation. It also allows participants to express themselves through dance, music and theatre as they struggle to cope with loss when friends and family opt to migrate or with the sinister allure of gangs and drugs. Through its programs, ADESJU expects participants to acquire the self-confidence to sit down with municipal authorities and make the case for funding projects that equip young people for the future. “Youth transforming youth,” Juan Carlos Carrillo, an ADESJU organizer, calls this activism geared assuring young Guatemalans further their education and work at building resilient communities in Huehuetenango, despite the daunting challenges.

—Amanda Hess, IAF program staff assistant