Guatemala

Director's Welcome

Welcome to the website of Peace Corps Guatemala. This site was developed to provide you with information, advice, and resources concerning life as a Peace Corps Volunteer and our programs in this country. 

Country Director, Guatemala
Geralyn Sheehan, Country Director for Peace Corps Guatemala

Dear Friends,

On behalf of our Peace Corps staff let me wish you a warm “Bienvenidos” to our website. Due to the pandemic, all Peace Corps Guatemala volunteers were evacuated in March, 2020. We look forward to the return of volunteers to serve in Guatemala when conditions allow. Please review our website to see the work of past volunteers and get a sense of their lives here in Guatemala. All volunteers commit to working with the people of Guatemala to promote our mission of Peace and Friendship through grassroots development projects and mutual exchanges of both knowledge and experience.

Peace Corps has had more than 5,200 volunteers serve in villages and communities in Guatemala since 1963. All our volunteers serve in rural communities throughout the Western Highlands. Volunteers serve in small towns and villages throughout 6 departments (states): El Quiché, Totonicapán, Sacatepéquez, Sololá, Quetzaltenango and Chimaltenango.

Volunteers are trained and supported by our Guatemalan staff. Our staff are highly skilled and experienced in their fields. Our team consists of development professionals, planners, administrators, IT Specialists, finance experts, culture and language facilitators, security, technical and development trainers, medical professionals, drivers and more. Each of them are committed to Peace Corps’ mission and to support the work being done by volunteers with local Guatemalan leaders.

The success of our post depends on the sustainability of the work of our volunteers with Guat4emalan partners. For that reason, each program reflects the work that our Guatemalan partners have prioritized for Peace Corps volunteer’ contributions. Peace Corps partners with the Ministries of: Education, Agriculture and Health as well as with the Ministry of Economy (MINECO), and the Presidential Secretariat for Food and Nutrition Security, (SESAN). Together with our partners, we jointly identify communities and local institutions where a volunteer will be placed to serve. Each Peace Corps volunteer is assigned one or more organization or institution where they will join the local staff and work side-by-side with Guatemalan professionals to contribute to the mission of that organization or institution. Here’s a brief summary of each programs’ foci:

  • Maternal and Child Health Program: Volunteers work through the Ministry of Health and are assigned to health centers, clinics and hospitals focusing on improving health education and promotion to improve child nutrition and women’s and family health.
  • Youth in Development: Working through middle schools, parent groups, youth groups and mayor’s offices; volunteers co-teach in the classroom and promote involvement of parents, teachers and local leaders in addressing issues of: youth leadership, decision-making, communication among family members to assure youth are surrounded by caring adults and have the life skills to assume positive roles in their community and country.
  • Community Economic Development (CED): This program supports various national strategies to impact prioritized populations (women, youth, and indigenous). Volunteers work on capacity building efforts with the overall goal of advancing gender equity and financial inclusion. The project focuses on 1) strengthening organizations (governmental, non-governmental, and community-based) and 2) the training of individuals in leadership positions to ensure the transfer of essential knowledge (money management skills and basic business skills) to community members.
  • Rural Extension: Working through the Ministry of Agriculture, volunteers are assigned to support extension agents at the municipal level, focusing on improving extension methods via non-formal, participatory and adult education principles. Volunteers work with community leaders and rural families in nutrition, agriculture and small business basics.

I hope you will enjoy the stories and experiences of our volunteers reflected in this website. Our volunteers come from throughout the United States and represent the diversity of our great nation. We are very proud of our staff and volunteers who together, make up the Peace Corps Guatemala family. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

Sending you warm regards,

Geralyn Sheehan  

Country Director

Peace Corps Guatemala