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Juana with her chickens

Juana is one of the women working with our partner Pastoral Social Caritas Diocese of Verapaz to improve her livelihoods and opportunities.

CAFOD has an extensive network of small, local partner organisations. This Autumn Appeal, we'd like you to meet some of our partners in Latin America.

The many challenges faced by Guatemalan women

Despite being the biggest economy in Central America, poverty, inequality and malnutrition are severe in Guatemala with indigenous and rural populations disproportionately affected. Excluded from economic independence, educational opportunities, and politics, it is women from these communities who find it the hardest to make ends meet.

On top of these challenges, gender-based violence is pervasive in Guatemala, resulting in one of the highest rates of femicide in the world and exposing women to the risk of STIs, unplanned pregnancies, and discrimination. For this reason, HIV continues to be a challenge especially for those who don’t have access to regular medical check-ups.

How you can help to strengthen local networks for peace and security

Through your support, we can work side by side with local partner organisations to maximise their efforts and help them reach some of the most vulnerable people in their communities. Our partner Pastoral Social Caritas in the Diocese of Verapaz is working with indigenous and rural communities, especially with women and people with HIV, to create spaces free of violence, stigma and discrimination and to promote access to health and justice services. We’re supporting them on activities such as:

  • Training on agroecological practices, crop diversification and promotion of community savings, delivered in the community’s mother tongues.

  • Engaging both women and men through education based on human rights, and provision of legal support and mental health care to victims of violence.

  • Training for local women leaders to enable them to advocate for their communities in the political sphere on topics like gender-based violence and human trafficking. The aim of their campaign will be to make it easier for victims of violence to obtain referrals.


Teresa showing us her new crops of papaya fruit. Credit: Pastoral Social – Caritas, Diocese of Verapaz

Teresa's story

"I am a midwife and a leader of a group of women from Sequixpec community. I lead a group of ninteen families.

"In the last six months, we have built ridges, terraces and planks to control weeds. Dung from our henhouse improves the fertility of the soil. We harvest water to irrigate our vegetable gardens. With the support of Pastoral Social and CAFOD, we diversified our orchards with crops like cucumber, radish, jalapeno chilli and Swiss chard.

"I always dreamed of this because I am a midwife and I know mothers and children need a more varied diet. I hope this can be done in more communities.

Your donation can reach people like Teresa around the world

Teresa's story is but one example of the lasting impact that our partners’ work can have on the lives of entire communities. We are appealing for your support so we can strengthen and future-proof the valuable work of our partners in Guatemala and beyond. For example:

  • £1,568 could help us connect women leaders with their local authorities through a series of workshops and meetings.

  • £10,080 could support 20 workshops for local partners to receive training on prevention of HIV, gender-based violence and safeguarding of women and girls.

And this year, the first £60,000 donated to the Major Gifts Autumn Appeal will be matched by two generous supporters. With your help, we could raise £120,000 to support work like Teresa’s around the world.

We work to keep you informed about the impact of your donations, so you can always make the best decision. If you're thinking of making a large donation and need more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at