CRS in Guatemala

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America. It is also the youngest with almost half of Guatemala’s population under the age of 19. Although Guatemala has the largest economy in Central America, social and economic inequality is high as more than half of the population lives in poverty. The indigenous population is especially affected, resulting in limited access to health, education and economic opportunities. Nearly one-half of Guatemala's children under age five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. One of CRS’ biggest focuses in Guatemala is protecting the rights of children through work with unaccompanied minors and addressing hazardous child labor conditions.


People served: 433,057

Population: 14,918,999 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 42,042 sq mi; about the size of Tennessee

CRS' History in Guatemala

Catholic Relief Services has worked in Guatemala since 1963. Initially, our work focused on humanitarian assistance to ease poverty and bring about a better standard of living for the needy. This included a food distribution program linked to education, mother-child health, agriculture, and reforestation activities in collaboration with the National Caritas Office in the 1970s. CRS also provided $13 million in food, medicine, and relief items to those affected by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that killed 23,000 people and left many thousands homeless in 1976. Over the years, our scope has expanded to include implementing programs focused on food security, nutrition and health, sustainable agriculture, education, civil society, disaster risk reduction and emergency response.