The project on “Knowledge Management” caters to the need of MdM in the Mesoamerican Region of capacity building based on the results of the projects implemented so far in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and southern Mexico. MdM is present in this area, having offices and professional and technical teams working in two main axis for the period 2017-2020: “Migration and Forced Displacement” and “Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights/Violence against Women Prevention”. This project is aimed at fostering conditions to create experience communities through ongoing training on Knowledge Management for MdM staff in the Mesoamerican Region. The need identified in Guatemala is to have all the implemented activities interrelated. With that aim, technical, professional and logistics teams must be strengthened to build “shared knowledge” on methodological processes as well as enhanced monitoring and assessment tools. In this way, our performance can be improved by implementing the findings in research, and the knowledge and lessons learnt in each and every development project following its life cycle. On a daily basis, these lessons are learnt on an individual basis and not reflected in the reports as much as it would be desirable. Therefore, it seems necessary to have a common space to share best practice, to have a wider and more thorough approach of the problems identified in each project. In this way, the project cycle will benefit from lessons learnt and best practice that could be shared and scaled-up to other sociocultural realities in the region. This would allow us in MdM to strengthen our shared knowledge and gain comparative advantage. Our local partners in Guatemala, community-based organizations, NGOs, partners in our cooperation and humanitarian aid projects, will be actively involved in this project ensuring this way that the capacities built in advocacy and communication will be transferred to them as well in order to enhance the common learning spaces. The task assignment of the volunteer in Advocacy and Communication is framed in the Knowledge Management regional project, by finalising and implementing an Advocacy Plan, based on the evidence found in the research study about the two strategic aims in Guatemala: “Migration and Forced Displacement” and “Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights/ Violence against Women Prevention”. The findings, lessons learnt and best practice will be standardised by the Volunteer and shared with the teams and local partners in the Region. Operational details & security context
Security situation in Guatemala and the Mesoamerican Region
The Republic of Guatemala, with 16,015,494 inhabitants (National Statistics Institute, 2015) and 40% of indigenous population, is a country with a slow economic growth. Some facts are: 58% of the population is under poverty line (80% being indigenous population), there are high levels of inequality, 25% of young people aged 14-25 do not study nor work, there are high levels of violence and insecurity, pregnancy rate among teenagers aged 17-19 of 81 per 1,000 women (the highest rate in the Northern Triangle of Central America) and 9% of the population were compelled to migrate in recent years.
The signing of Guatemala's Peace Accords in 1996 brought hope of a fairer society in which people could live in peace. However, peace settlement didn't result in higher levels of human development. After a subsequent improvement of the situation, insecurity levels for the population worsened later on.
The violence affecting Guatemala's population nowadays does not follow that historic pattern, making it difficult to address the current insecurity situation. There is not a unique cause explaining the high levels of violence which, according to official data, has been steadily increasing. The following two factors could be identified as contributing to this rise: social exclusion and lack of law enforcement.
These factors are interrelated and affect each other. The fact that the benefits of a reasonable level of economic growth in Guatemala are not equally distributed among social strata, together with high levels of poverty, result in social tensions. While thousands of young people every year enter the workforce, the labour market does not offer enough job opportunities to meet this demand. The education system does not provide young people with the skills to join the labour market, forcing them to look for livelihoods in the submerged economy or exposing themselves to the risk of undocumented migration.
A small percentage of this population –suffering as well the consequences of weak family integration mechanisms, discrimination and victimization– is exposed to the need to resort to law-breaking actions such as goods smuggling, kidnapping, human, weapon and munition trafficking, narcotics dealing.
MdM Security Plans
MdM has general security protocols in all its headquarters in the countries of intervention. Guatemala's Security Plan, framed in “Conceptual Framework for Security Management” by MdM, has the following objectives:
To reduce security risks for staff, by allowing them to integrate and implement security rules and regulations to prevent any potential emergency.
To plan and coordinate actions to be taken by the person in charge of security, in case of emergency
To schedule preventive actions in order to prevent emergency situations.
To schedule training activities and drills for the staff to be prepared to act in case of emergency
To have an ongoing updating procedure available
The volunteer will adhere to these norms which will be shared with him/her in the pre-deployment training or briefing
The assignment of the volunteer does not imply working in the field, but in workshops, meetings and gatherings with working teams and local partners, community-based organizations, NGOs, etc. Should any field visit be done, it would be scheduled and planned with the relevant teams.
Medicos del Mundo has developed a Security Plan adjusted to the specific context of rampant violence in Guatemala city, which is periodically monitored, in collaboration with the organization Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de DDHH, UDEFEGUA (Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit) in Guatemala (link:
www.udefegua.org), who are experts on this issue in Central America. Several workshops have already been done with UDEFEGUA, which allow us to confirm that their methodology includes a permanent monitoring procedure of the context and risks analysis in order to adjust or modify any aspect of the project, if the case may be.
In the event of a security threat or special circumstance, all activities will be brought to a halt as long as required, according to the Security Plan.