United for Life Association (ASUVI-Quiché) – Guatemala

ASUVI-Quiché (Asociación Unidos por la Vida), created in 1997, works primarily with rural indigenous women living in the North-West of Guatemala, a region particularly torn by the internal armed conflict (1960-1996). All ASUVI members are primarily small-holder farmers. Incomes from farming vary depending on access to land (almost all women rent), and markets. The impacts of the climate crisis with environmental degradation and loss of ecosystems make farming even more challenging which explains the focus on water and soil regeneration. The majority of ASUVI members live below the Guatemalan poverty line. ASUVI adopts an integrated, holistic development approach to its programming. 


Guatemala is an ecologically and culturally rich country: 60% of the population speaks Spanish, though the government recognizes 23 languages more. Almost every municipality in the country has a small museum. Guatemala has a population of 14 million; 40% of whom are indigenous peoples. Nearly half of Guatemala’s population is under age 19. Approximately 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Guatemala has the highest number of children with acute malnutrition in Latin America and is number four in terms of chronically malnourished children in the world – again the majority coming from indigenous communities. Guatemala’s social indicators often fall below those of countries with lower per capita incomes because of the extreme disparities between rich and poor. With over half of Guatemala’s population residing below the poverty line, the financial strain on families makes it challenging for children, particularly indigenous youth, to afford the increasing expenses associated with education such as uniforms, books, supplies, and transportation. Accessing primary education is especially arduous for rural children, leading to a high dropout rate due to inadequate facilities and limited opportunities.

Indigenous students, particularly males, typically discontinue their education around the age of 12, the transition point between primary and secondary school, primarily due to economic pressures and the demand for labor. Financial stability becomes a pressing concern, prompting many to prioritize work over schooling. This dilemma leads to a higher likelihood of indigenous students balancing work alongside their education or dropping out entirely. Ultimately, poverty serves as the primary barrier to education for indigenous students, with rural residence further exacerbating issues of incomplete schooling and non-enrollment. Violent crime, as well as human and drug trafficking are increasingly significant problems in the country. 


In order to achieve their main goal of empowering Indigenous women and girls, ASUVI Quiché focuses on:  

Water and Basic Sanitation: Implement systems to introduce drinking water to families and communities without access. Likewise, the construction of dry family compost latrines, Promote the installation of wood-saving stoves, Installation of Water purifiers operating through Ultraviolet Rays. Sowing water in micro-basins 

Resilient Agriculture: Promote working with appropriate and organic technology, with the construction of Greenhouses, Macro tunnels, Family gardens, Rainwater collection systems, and Livestock activities, establishment of yard animals, chickens, sows, etc.  

Legal Certainty of the Land: Promote processes to guarantee the legal certainty of the land of families that do not have this security, as well as communities in situations of land insecurity

Community Treatment Project: Care for people and families with drug addiction problems and project targeting children and adolescents with different abilities (CAIICAD).  

Gender Equality: Social and economic empowerment for women and girls, ending sexual and gender-based violence

Youth Participation: Project in the school I feed my dream: implement actions to prevent the dropout of boys and girls from grades 4,5,6 in 20 schools, with recreational, productive agricultural activities and Psychopedagogical tools 

ASUVI also targets female-headed households and pays special attention to their needs by enabling them access to agricultural inputs. Moreover, they engage with all key stakeholders such as the agricultural local authorities, which contributes to the sustainability of their projects. Finally, they adopt a human-rights based approach and a climate crisis lens when implementing activities in the communities.  

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Population18,092,02638.93 million 
Size108 889 km29.9 million km2
Ranking- Human Development Index#136 in the world #18 in the world 
Life Expectancy#141 in the world #19 in the world 
Population below the Poverty Line47% 7.4% 
Carbon emissions (CO₂ per resident) #157 in the world (1.2) #15 in the world (14.3) 
Employment in Agriculture27.14% 1.28% 
Internet Users50.8% 92.8% 
Ranking- Global Climate Risk Index. 92 76.5 
Cost of Basic Needs Basket for a Family of 4$269$2,300
Average Monthly Minimum Wage $585.67 (agriculture) $2,511 
GDP per capita#66 in the world #22 in the world 


Department of Quiché, Guatemala