Mercado Global empowers indigenous women to overcome poverty and become agents of change in their communities.
• Women invest 90 cents of every dollar they make back into the health, nutrition and education of their families.
Investing in them goes beyond helping individuals to support overall community development.
• Empowering women “may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world,” according to leading economists. Female education has been linked to higher wages; reduced mortality rates; and better community-wide health and education.
Rural indigenous women suffer extreme racial and sexual discrimination, hindering their ability to find employment and take on leadership roles.
75% of indigenous Guatemalans live below the poverty line, and 58% live in extreme poverty (the equivalent of US$1.25 per day).
• 2 in 3 indigenous children go to bed hungry every night
– the highest rate of malnutrition in the Western hemisphere and fourth-highest globally.
• Indigenous children attend school, on average, for just 1.9 years. Those in school are more likely to drop out without attaining literacy than non-indigenous students.
Mercado Global has worked with more than 400 artisans across Guatemala. However, this represents only a fraction of the women who need our help.
Creating economic opportunities for rural indigenous peoples – who comprise 60% of Guatemala’s population – is key to building a strong and safe democracy.
Guatemala is at a turning point after the 36-year Civil War that left more than 200,000 people dead. The country’s population is young, and the opportunity to educate and incorporate into the economy the upcoming generation could determine whether Guatemala becomes one of Latin America’s success stories or remains one of its tragedies.