Mural made by Emilene de León at ACD Guatemala, 2023.

If the war is spreading, it is our call to do more and get more connected. It is time to expand our love and unity. We pray for peace and development for our world.

Today marks one year of the war, the Russian invasion of the Ukraine has turned the world’s economy upside down and our rural communities are increasingly suffering the impact. At ACD we have left a record of this anniversary calling for No War through a wonderful mural that unites nations without colors or races or political flags. We thank Emily, a last-year student of International Relations from the San Carlos University of Guatemala who has completed her professional internship at ACD and shared her great talent through this mural that unites us and provokes the following reflection.

The glocal (global-local) impact is overwhelming, especially if it is a country like Guatemala. Let’s see, in 2019 the poverty figures in Guatemala fluctuated at 48%, with the pandemic this number increased to 62%, that is to say that 6 out of 10 Guatemalans found themselves in poverty, and according to the World Food Program, Guatemala is already suffering a severe famine crisis, which can increase poverty up to 70%. Guatemala’s population is 17 million, meaning that more than half of the country will be facing one of the worst crises in its history in the coming years.

First the pandemic hit us and now families are facing the high price increase causing a Re-Impoverishment. The repercussions are multiple: we are seeing the widening of the inequality gap, historical numbers of migration of all types of people and ages. More than 350,000 people migrate annually according to the Guatemalan National Institute of Migration (2023).

Until a few years ago, we were able to identify groups and predict migratory patterns, but today, we are detecting mixed waves of migrants, that is, both children and the elderly, the unemployed as well as entrepreneurs or businessmen migrate. People do not hesitate for a second to pay the more than 20 thousand dollars to get to the United States. To be able to pay for this, they mortgage their properties, make loans or make payment agreements with human traffickers, but they do not always manage to even reach the border, so they face a serious problem with organized crime. A growing reality that from ACD we have called –perpetual poverty because it seems that misery never ends.

Besides, Guatemala has been facing very complex internal processes and slow development for decades. We are also in an election year and the political offer is not very attractive. In a regional perspective, poverty in Latin America will increase to 40% according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (2023).

But there is hope in the midst of this storm, the reopening of schools this 2023 in Guatemala makes us very positive. As an organization we firmly believe that access to education continues to be powerful «it will continue to be one of the factors that most influences the development of people and the progress of societies» (UNAM, 2023).

We are also motivated by the population’s interest in their own health, we believe that the pandemic opened an avenue for us to talk about preventive health and generate greater community networks on the importance of being healthy and avoiding chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and others.

We see that women are taking on an increasingly important role and are increasingly participating in workplaces and decision-making, which opens windows of opportunity to talk about leadership, rights and dignity.

We are excited that we are about to open a new phase of entrepreneurship for the economic support of women and youth, which represents another avenue for the community, community relief in times of crisis.

As an Organization we are continuously betting on the adaptation and reinvention of our ways of intervening in our communities, mainly from the hand of young people and women who are making decisions in our communities and who continually strengthen their leadership and are capable of inspiring and guiding

Thanks to our partners and local leadership, today we have an established Community Center in the right moment! Now hundreds of people come to benefit from a scholarship, medical treatment, an alternative product to improve health at home, training, advice, a space for peace and we are expanding our services in the western highlands with an honest model that approches local needs and honors partners.

If the war is spreading, it is our call to do more and get more connected! It is time to expand our love and unity, we pray for peace and development. Thank you for supporting Guatemala through ACD!

Professor Lucia Muñoz Argueta
ACD Guatemala CEO & Cofounde
Master in International Affairs
Master in Social Anthropology
Specialist in Public Policies and Human Rights
PhD Candidate in Philosophy and Social Research for the Americas.

References: Castells M. (2016) «globalización, identidad y estado en América Latina». España. CEPAL (2023) «El crecimiento en América Latina». ONU. INM (2023) » Estadistica Migratoria para el año fiscal 2022″. Guatemala. UNAM (2022) «La educación como pilar de la sociedad». México.