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Provide Lifesaving Support for Guatemala

Provide Lifesaving Support for Guatemala
Provide Lifesaving Support for Guatemala
Provide Lifesaving Support for Guatemala
Provide Lifesaving Support for Guatemala

More people are displaced due to war and natural disasters today than at any time in the last 70 years. Around the globe, humanitarian crises affect 141 million people in 37 countries.

The increased need for humanitarian assistance is driven primarily by:

  • Increasing conflicts around the world. More than 65 million people – one of out every 122 persons on the planet – have fled their homes either as refugees or as internally displaced persons. Syria, Iraq and Yemen account for more than half of that number.
  • More natural disasters. Since 1970, the number of disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled. Natural disasters affect over 375 million people every year, with 98 percent of these disasters related to climate change.

The world’s humanitarian response system faces unprecedented challenges. Yet it’s a system too often burdened by inefficient, bureaucratic, and outdated methods that seriously delay life-saving assistance. As one of the world’s leading aid agencies – providing relief to more than 10 million people in more than 20 countries – CARE is at the forefront of innovation to modernize emergency response for an era of unprecedented challenges. Our goal is simple: to be better, faster, and to save more lives.

Given the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, as well as the increasing number of protracted conflict-related crises, CARE is committed to maintaining our capacity to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously. When disaster strikes, CARE needs flexible resources to deploy when and where they are needed most. We also seek to invest in new technology, to test and refine cutting-edge practices, and to drive global-level discussions around humanitarian need and response – not only to improve our own capacity to reach those in need, but also to set new industry standards for a global humanitarian system that is too often slow and inefficient. CARE places special emphasis on addressing the challenges faced by women and girls in times of crisis, including complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and a heightened risk of violence and abuse.

With the support of generous donors like you, CARE’s Humanitarian Surge Fund allows us to move quickly to respond to a crisis without waiting for governments to release funds or hoping individuals will support yet another emergency fundraising appeal. Critically, outlays from the fund help position CARE to leverage significantly more funding from institutional and private donors. By allowing CARE to launch our response without delay, the fund enables us to take advantage of the critical, short window of media attention to a disaster. When CARE is visible in the media, we are able to advocate forcefully with donors and governments on behalf of the needs of the most vulnerable, in particular women and girls.

In Guatemala specifically, a modest $25,000 Surge Fund allocation enabled CARE to initiate a response the day after the April 2018 volcanic eruption, starting with needs assessments and the recruitment of qualified personnel to launch activities and mobilize additional resources. In first stage of the response, CARE reached 3,360 people through water, sanitation and hygiene interventions and the distribution of other essential items like face masks and cleaning items. We were able to raise another $458,257 for subsequent phases.

CARE was able to raise close to $500,000 in new donor contributions toward the Surge Fund in Fiscal Year 2018, and just over $2 million in total. We are enthusiastic at the prospect of leveraging our use of the Fund to raise more donor money and enhance CARE’s visibility and effectiveness as a humanitarian actor. At the same time, leveraging additional funds that then can be used to replenish the Fund is a crucial challenge. The reality is that many of the crises for which we will make Surge Fund allocations are out of the public eye, or long-simmering/“forgotten” crises for which it is hard to raise money generally, including from institutional donors.

Going forward, we will be more strategic in how we use the Fund to support emergencies in order to capitalize on leveraging opportunities. We also hope to attract significantly more funding this year and beyond by redoubling our fundraising efforts, strengthening engagement with key donors, and getting the message out about the importance of the Fund and the high impact it achieves.

SOURCED FROM: Rick Perera, Resource Development Communications, CARE USA

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Raquel is the leader of the grassroots organization Madre Tierra, or Mother Earth. She has been a member of this group for 24 years, where she interacts with civil society and local and national authorities, and participates in political dialogue to advocate for women’s empowerment.

When Raquel joined Madre Tierra, she had little confidence and was nervous to speak in public. In the past, she was a victim of violence and sexual abuse.

Raquel overcame her fears and realized that she could lead change. Raquel stated: “With the violence, discrimination and problems that women face, we have to be clear and understand that it is not something that we have been born with. It is a problem that society itself has been in charge of.”

Raquel is lucky that her mother worked for Madre Tierra in the past. Her mother encouraged and empowered her to join the organization and represent her community. Further discovering her capabilities and potentials was what motivated Raquel to move forward. Raquel said:

“I started very small in the organization. But we can contribute a lot as young women to the processes of change and development of our communities.”

Now, Raquel is the leader of Madre Tierra. Madre Tierra started in 1993, during the civil war in Guatemala. The organization helped refugee women return home from Mexico. Madre Tierra means a lot to Raquel: “It is a safe space that has allowed me to learn, but also to grow as an independent woman.”

Through CARE’s Partners for Resilience program, members of organizations like Madre Tierra are supported to learn about the consequences of climate change and how to adapt to its increas- ing impacts. Raquel says:

“The earth is changing. The strongest impact that we have experienced due to climate change is the lack of water.”

Raquel is determined to take action to address climate change. Madre Tierra has developed training and analysis processes at the community level, identifying key capabilities and vulnerabilities. Additionally, Madre Tierra works together with CONRED, the national disaster response agency in Guatemala. CONRED has trained members of Madre Tierra on how to educate women in disaster risk management.

For Raquel, things are clear. If there are no women involved, then there will be no successful solutions. Raquel adds: “There is a relationship between the Earth and women. They both feed the world, they both give life.”

The inclusion of women is important to the urgent adaptation to climate change which is needed to make the planet habitable for generations to come. Including all genders also leads to more successful imple- mentation: when women are engaged, the entire community is heard. With pride, Raquel adds: “For me, the most motivating thing is the change that is seen in people. There will be no changes if people do not become aware of their impact on the planet.”

Raquel is realistic but confident about the future. It gives her courage to see that she is surrounded by so many people.

In the face of disaster, Guatemala is empowered to be resilient and not break due to generous support from donors like you.  Thank you for equipping women like Raquel with the resources to contribute to her community.  


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Through unforeseen challenges such as the volcano eruption one year ago, Guatemala continues to recover and show their resilience.  Recently, a delegation from the US visited Guatemala to increase awareness of their initiatives and resources needed.  This experience would not be possible without the support and generosity of supporters like you. Learn more about their visit below, and we thank you in advance for your continued investment in CARE.

WASHINGTON (May 1, 2019) – Representatives Susan Brooks (R-IN-5), Carol Miller (R-WV-3) and Ann Wagner (R-MO-2) traveled to Guatemala with CARE to see how U.S. investments and partnerships are promoting women’s and girls’ empowerment and building long-term stability in the region. The delegation also included Congressional staffers from Indiana and Missouri, as well as a representative from the PepsiCo Foundation.

“This Learning Tour to Guatemala was a life-changing experience,” said Rep. Susan Brooks. “We met incredible women and girls who are working hard to better themselves and their communities through education, starting small businesses and lifting their peers up. We were able to see the devastating impacts of poverty, abuse, hunger and discrimination these women, and many more around the world, face every day. And yet, we also saw resilience and resourcefulness in these communities. Learning how American investments spark impressive change for these women and their communities was incredible. We must continue to invest in the development of women and girls around the world because, as we saw during our visit to Guatemala, they are critically important to ensuring communities are able to successfully develop, thrive and grow.”

CARE has operated in Guatemala since 1959 alongside other humanitarian, public and private sector organizations. With a population of 16.6 million, Guatemala’s growing economy is the largest in Central America, yet it currently has the highest malnutrition rate in the Western Hemisphere and an estimated 59 percent of people still live below the national poverty line. Today, women and girls face many challenges in Guatemala, including a lack of decision-making power and control over their financial resources, a high risk of gender-based violence and restricted opportunities in accessing education. While Guatemala has made great progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in recent years, the consistent social inequities, particularly for women and girls, continue to hinder the country’s ability to reach middle-income status.

“I feel proud to visit and see all of the important and critical work that the U.S. and partners like USAID, CARE and other NGOs are doing to empower and create opportunities for women and girls in Guatemala and around the world to thrive and feel safe in their homes and communities,” said Rep. Ann Wagner.

The highlight of the trip included field visits in Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango and the Sololá departments of Guatemala, where the delegation met with women and girls in their communities to see how U.S. investments are transforming their lives and leading to the prevention of gender-based violence, expanded economic opportunities and stronger educational outcomes. During the trip, the delegation also met with Luis Arreaga-Rodas, U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, and Andrea Villagrán, Guatemalan Congressional Deputy.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to visit Guatemala with CARE, said Rep. Carol Miller. “It’s important that we in the U.S. provide leadership and partnership to ensure that Guatemalans have the opportunity to live, work and raise families in their home country. I look forward to sharing my experiences with my colleagues and members of my community.”

Through these program visits and meetings with change-makers and key development stakeholders, including representatives from the Guatemalan government, non-government organizations (NGOs), technical experts and the U.S. Mission, the delegation gained a greater understanding of the positive impact U.S. investments have on making sustainable change for women, their families and their communities for generations to come.



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Emergencies have different impacts on men and women and often change household and community dynamics. Women are disproportionately affected by natural disasters and face specific challenges in armed conflict. CARE is committed to working with women and girls, boys and men to free women’s potential to the benefit of society as a whole.

How we include gender into our emergency response:

  • Having a gender balanced team with the ability to assess and respond to the different needs of men, women, boys and girls, and who know and respect CARE’s codes of conduct.
  • Applying a solid gender analysis including sex and age disaggregated data (SADD). This means we analyze the different power, roles and needs of women, men, boys and girls within the community, and how these have been affected by the crisis.
  • Grounding our emergency response strategy, program design and implementation directly on the gender analysis.
  • Incorporating a gender lens in all of our humanitarian programs.
  • Ensuring that we monitor the different impacts of our response on women, men, boys and girls, including by using gendered indicators and monitoring tools that allow us to see and track the different impacts according to sex and age.

Specifically in Guatemala, CARE has been responding to the Fuego volcano’s massive eruption not only with immediate primary needs which include shelter and household items such as mattresses and blankets but also with psychosocial support for affected families, particularly children in shelters. On the ground in the affected areas, teams continue to determine how best to meet the needs of affected families and communities.

“In crises like this, it is vital that families, particularly children, feel supported,” said Amilcar Miron, Programme Quality and Resource Mobilization Manager. “Some communities have been buried under the lava and ash, and many have lost everything, including loved ones. Our psychosocial activities help them cope with their losses and reclaim some level of stability in a desperately chaotic situation.”

We thank you for your contribution and commitment to CARE to ensure we are best meeting the needs of the women, girls, and communities impacted by the Fuego volcano eruption.


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Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted June 3 in the provinces of Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepéquez, where the Guatemalan government has declared a State of Public Calamity. The Fuego Volcano continues to erupt, and on Sunday, November 18, the state of the eruption shifted from moderate to high.  

CARE continues to be active in the area and sincerely appreciates your support through recovery.  CARE has implemented the following in response: 

  • Provided 420 cots and mats for families affected as well as 450 garbage cans 
  • Purchased and distributed 500 hygiene kits to families living in transitional shelters
  • Installed water distribution systems to service more than 375 families
  • Delivered 300 water filters to 300 families to support their recovery process
  • Provided 200 protection kits in the shelters, which Include flashlights, batteries capes and whistles
  • Held a vocational workshop for 150 women and children about crafts and costume jewelery

However, the communities are still very much in need of funding to:

  • Provide water and basic sanitation in shelters
  • Operate and maintain toilets and showers in an emergency shelter impacting 1,500 people
  • Optimize the lists of people in the shelters to provide differentiated support to women, girls, and people with disabilities 
  • Establish and increase coordination between government institutions

CARE has strong community connections throughout Guatemala, having worked there since 1959, enabling us to continue to respond to the Fuego volcano eruption. As humanitarian aid diminishes, your contribution is even more vital to helping us get needed supplies to emergency-affected communities for ongoing recovery. We thank you again for your generosity, as you equip CARE to effectively provide lifesaving support for Guatemala.

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Organization Information


Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CARE
Project Leader:
Kate Nichols
Atlanta, GA United States

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