Action Against Hunger (Spain) and GVC (Italy) are International Non-Governmental Organisations that have joined their expertise in managing humanitarian actions worldwide and are now implementing the project “Strengthening the resilience and response capacity of vulnerable and disaster-affected communities through the deployment of EU Aid Volunteers”.
The project will seek to directly strengthen resilience and response capacity of vulnerable and disaster-affected communities through the deployment of 19 trained EU Aid Volunteers in 10 countries: Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Georgia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Thailand and Cambodia. This main objective will be achieved through the deployment of EU Aid Volunteers and capacity-building activities to strengthen decision- making processes based on the Regional Pastoral Surveillance System (SO1), as well as to strength good practices and lessons learned about disaster risk management and resilience practices in vulnerable communities (SO2), and to strengthen humanitarian skills and capacities of a great range of humanitarian actors around contingency planning processes and coordination mechanisms (SO3). These specific objectives will be complemented by activities with the purpose to ensure adequate support to the EU Aid Volunteers and the quality of the entire implementation process (SO4) and finally oriented to guarantee the best coordination mechanisms between EU and in-country partners (SO5). Operational details & security context
Guatemalan Western Highlands are mainly inhabited by indigenous and rural population, and the area is characterized by high levels of poverty, exclusion and social inequality. Due to their geographical location, the Municipalities of San Miguel Acatán y Malacatancito in the Department of Huehuetenango are affected by several problems, needs and hazards. At the moment GVC is working in this area providing humanitarian assistance.
These municipalities lie on the geographic strip that crosses the Dry Corridor, an area that has been chronically affected by drought and prolonged heat waves. In addition, this region is highly earthquake-prone. At the same time, landslides, frost, forest fires and storms frequently hit this area. In November 2012, an earthquake shook severely this region, and approximately 60% of the houses presented slight to moderate damages and 30% severe damages. Also the recent storms Stan, Agatha and DT 12E caused the massive loss of crops and damages to houses, affecting a high number of families. Rock-slides and landfalls especially affect the communities of San Miguel Acatán, due to their topographical features and their steep slopes.
Because of the negative relation between natural hazards and subsistence agriculture, the level of economic vulnerability is extremely high, rural communities are facing food and nutrition insecurity because of the loss of crops due to irregular cumulative rains during the last four years and the impact of the 2014-2016 drought. Vulnerable families have less than two months of food reserves and suffer the lack of job opportunities and the declining wages from other complementary activities (harvesting coffee or cutting sugar cane).
According to the interviews realized in the base line, only 19% of the families depend on self-consumption and on their own crops, and most of them cannot generate income out of their small parcels so in many cases they are obliged to implement survival strategies to guarantee food consumption for their households. People interviewed declared they do not practice any kind of mitigation measures, such as soil conservation, nor did they receive technical training on livelihood protection.
Guatemala is a relatively insecure country characterized by the presence of crimes linked for exmple to the presence of networks of drug trafficking or youth gangs. The reduction in the number of homicides reported by the Guatemala National Civil Police (PNC) does not correspond to a general decrease in violence, given that assaults, robberies and extortions are on the rise due to the increase in social instability that has raised the level of attention for maintaining public order and safeguarding security.
The EU Aid Volunteer will be hosted by GVC Guatemala, responsible of coordination and implementation of activities at national level. The EU Aid Volunteer will also work in direct coordination with local and international partners members of the Humanitarian Consortium aiming to building local community resilience to disasters.
We uphold the Humanitarian Principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independency.
We affirmatively engage the most vulnerable communities.
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