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Located in the northern part of Central America, Guatemala is a country gifted with a rich cultural heritage, exuberant nature, and a large indigenous population. The country's geographic location creates the setting for some of the most beautiful landscapes in the hemisphere, but also makes it vulnerable to natural disasters and its resource based economy makes it susceptible to frequent economic crisis. The drought of 2001 and the drop in the prices of coffee are only two examples of dramatic events that have recently affected this state's development. Due to the country's vulnerable situation any analytical effort attempting to discern whether Guatemala will be able to reach the MDGs must consider that any gains achieved can be offset by sudden natural disasters or economic crisis. 1996 marked the end of 36 years long civil war, the signing of the Peace Accord between the Guatemalan Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Guatemalteca ushered a new era filled with promises of prosperity and peace. Currently, the population of Guatemala is 14,388,929. It is also one of the lowest ranked countries in the Americas in the human development index (number 121). Guatemala's economy depends on the agricultural sector - coffee, bananas, and sugar. Guatemala 's literacy rate is low at 74.5%, life expectancy is 71.2 years and the country has a (GDP) per capita of $5200 usd PPP. Guatemala 's Gini coefficient is 53.7.
Data regarding the monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicates only a remote possibility of achieving indicators 8, 10, and 16 and notes that 21.5% of the population lives on less than US$ 1 per day (2005), largely in rural and indigenous areas6. Approximately 49% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition (68% among indigenous children), and 30% of pregnant women have
nutritional deficits. Food insecurity has worsened in recent years, and pockets of populations with acute and severe malnutrition have reappeared.
Communities in Gutemala
Faces Voices and Places Guatemala
El Bongo (El Estor)
The community of El Bongo, Municipality of El Estor, Izabal Department, has a population of 716 inhabitants, and is located approximately half an hour by car from El Estor. It has better road conditions than Los Angeles Pancalá, and different health problems and priorities. MORE>>
Los Angeles Pancalá (El Estor)
Pancalá belongs to the Municipality of El Estor, in the department of Izabal and has a population of 1,087 inhabitants. Of the three communities chosen, it is by far the most difficult to access. During the rainy season, it is nearly impossible to reach the community as the rivers become very deep and many do not have bridges. MORE>>
Los Encuentros (San Juan Ermita)
Of the three communities chosen for this initiative, Los Encuentros, in the municipality of San Juan Ermita, in the department of Chiquimula, has the smallest population, with only about 400 inhabitants. MORE>>