Youth in Latin America, and in Guatemala in particular, face daunting challenges. Unemployment, insufficient educational opportunities, and the threat of gang recruitment are only a few of those many challenges. PADF promotes youth leadership and advocates for youth, strengthening the social fabric and developing the capacity of youth organizations. In Guatemala, PADF leveraged networks and experience working with marginalized and indigenous groups throughout Latin America to offer capacity-building and performance improvement for youth-led organizations, with the goal of building an equitable and representative cadre of future political leaders with the capacity to address some of the most pressing challenges facing Guatemala.
PADF worked with 10 youth-led organizations to identify and prioritize the areas where they needed to improve and guide them through a process of organizational strengthening. Among the organizations the PADF supported are Visión Legislativa, a civic organization that focuses on elections, and Acciona Xela, a collective that advocates for basic services in the Municipality of Quetzaltenango. After working with PADF, the two organizations held forums to discuss the elections in Quetzaltenango, reaching thousands of individuals online and in-person.
Accion Xela advocates for the provision of basic services to the community of Quetzaltenango, including electricity, trash collection, road maintenance and public information. In the organizational diagnostic PADF conducted in 2018, several gaps were identified, including the need to develop a communications strategy to raise public awareness about these issues. After completing the process of organizational capacity building under PADF’s guidance, Accion Xela held two well-attended forums with candidates during the municipal elections, demonstrating their vast improvements. With PADF’s support, Acción Xela has become an active voice in the community in monitoring municipal social programs, reporting anomalies in municipal services and raising awareness in general.