Inclusion of Vulnerable Youth in Guatemalan Society

Y Care International has supported Guatemala Young Men’s Christian Association’s (YMCA) work with vulnerable young people affected by violence since 2013.

In post-conflict Guatemala the legacy of a brutal 36 year-long conflict has led to a culture of violence from which the country is yet to emerge. Violence is fuelled by high levels of exclusion and inequality, poor education and health services, unemployment, dysfunctional family units, and limited livelihoods opportunities. Young people are most at risk of violence, either as victims or perpetrators.

The project seeks to reduce young people’s vulnerability to violence by using sports and arts as a tool for youth development and equip them with: skills to resolve conflict in a peaceful, non-violent way; knowledge about their rights; and skills to transform community spaces into safe sport and recreation spaces.The project provides support to family members to reduce domestic conflict, as well as supporting teachers in schools where young people are involved in gang-related and peer violence.

Young people are lead community awareness raising activities to reduce stigma and discrimination towards young people and promote non-violent conflict resolution. Agreements are being established with local government to protect young people from violence and defend their rights.

Two Y Care International staff members visited Guatemala YMCA to assess the progress of the programme as it reached its mid-point. The findings presented in this report will inform our current programming in Guatemala and future programming in the region and across our portfolio of programmes with young people.

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