Violence: In Guatemala indigenous people suffered much during the genocide of 1970-80s and so are concerned about the violence and criminality from migrants with links to gangs from their home country. Politically there is more stability than in recent years, but the increased violence means work on reconciliation is becoming more important.
To help stop this violence many agencies are developing cultural activities to build a sense of worth amongst the communities.
Education: Most children attend school from the age of seven to eleven, giving them only four years basic education. This is not enough to develop higher skills and give greater opportunities for employment.
Tax Justice: Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are the least developed countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Current tax policies shed some light on the problem: the average tax revenue is just 15.95%, leaving Central American governments without sufficient resources to invest in social spending.
Malnutrition: This is a scandal and will get worse with the current drought. In Guatemala in particular, 60-70% of children are affected. The soil is poor with few crops being produced. Groups are shown how to develop vegetable gardens. Traditional seeds have been given to help with the diversity of crops.
Gender Issues: Building women’s self-esteem and capacity is an area for growth. Government investment in this area is being encouraged.
Coffee: In Nicaragua, coffee beans, through SOPPEXCA, are exported using Fairtrade channels. With help, the co-operative is trying to transform the coffee trade to be able to supply Nicaraguan coffee shops with local coffee. They are also looking to produce more cocoa as changes in climate are making the future of coffee uncertain. Climate change: Nicaragua is experiencing wide variations in the weather, with droughts and then flooding. Education and research are needed to help farmers understand the implications of the changes in climate they are experiencing. Disaster resilience and preparedness is seen as a necessity. In El Salvador sea surges over next century estimate 10-28% of coast territories will be lost. See images at:
Author: David Wiggs
I am the webmaster for Purley United Reformed Church and have been involved with the church since my late teens. I work in Croydon and live in Caterham.