Promoting Economic Opportunity for Young Women and Girls


Approximately 50% of Guatemalan youth are poor and 15% live in extreme poverty. On a subnational level, poverty is concentrated in rural indigenous communities where the challenges of extreme poverty and chronic malnutrition have persisted for decades and have not been effectively addressed by government or development agencies.


This project will take place in Lachuá, home to several indigenous Mayan groups and characterized by high levels of extreme poverty due in part to low levels of education, limited access to government social services, and high incidences of early pregnancy for young women. Together, these factors put women in particular and their children at higher risk of malnutrition, disability, and death. Yet, patriarchal norms and local taboos limit the spread of information to young women regarding their sexual and reproductive health and rights, disempowering them and perpetuating the cycle of poverty.


Trickle Up and our local partners are implementing the Graduation Approach in six communities in Lachuá, Guatemala. This is Trickle Up’s first project in the region to integrate sexual and reproductive rights training into the Graduation Approach to provide young women with critical information and reduce the rate of early pregnancy.


This project provides 150 young women and girls with livelihood planning and training, mentoring, and savings groups. 100 of these women also receive seed capital grants to jump start their livelihoods. All participants receive critical training on self-esteem, nutrition, and reproductive health and rights. The ultimate goal is to enable participants to both develop success livelihood activities that contribute to household income and become empowered, effective self-advocates and leaders in their communities. The project will also provide reproductive health services to participants as part of the sexual and reproductive health component.

Project Objectives

  • Empower 150 young women from 6 communities in Lachuá to access better opportunities that will support their personal development.

Project Data

Baseline demographic data:

  • More than 95% of participants identify as indigenous (primarily Maya Q’eqchi)
  • More than half of residents in project communities are under the age of 18
  • In project communities, women on average have their first pregnancy between the ages of 15 and 16
  • The average size of participant households is 7+ people.
  • 6% of participant households are affected by a disability.
  • 98% of participants can read and write.
  • 66% of participants are currently enrolled in school.


Second quarter data:

  • Participants have saved an average of $23 (Q172) each.
  • 46% of participants have received a loan from their savings groups, primarily to invest in their productive activities.
  • 73% of microenterprises have a profitability rate of at least 20% to date.
  • 23% of participants have diversified their productive activities.
  • 60% of participants have updated records of their microenterprises.


Year 1 data:

  • The savings groups finished their first cycle of savings. The 18 members of Santa Lucía Lachua savings group were each given US $1,055 (Q8,022) in savings, resulting in a profitability rate of 23% over the original value of their shares.
  • Participants earned on average $287 in profits after one year in the program.


Endline data:

  • 95% of households never or rarely experience hunger at the end of the project.
  • 87% of participants felt satisfied in their businesses.
  • 58% of participants took loans from the savings group to invest in their productive activities.
  • 73% of households have adopted healthier eating practices after the project.
  • 97% of participants grow more nutritious species of crops. 23 different species of crops are grown by participants, compared to 9 at the start of the project.
  • 97% of young women & girls take an active role in household decisions, compared to only 14% at the start.
  • 94% of participants avoided early pregnancy during the project period.
  • 69% of participants increased their knowledge about sexual and reproductive health through the project.
  • 92% of participants achieved the goal of meeting 5 of the 6 criteria for Graduation. We consider their achievement of the Graduation criteria to be very good.


For more information about this project, see the project brief.

Lachuá, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala

Start Date: 9/1/2015
End Date: 5/30/2017


Number of Participants: 100


Vulnerable Populations

Women, Rural, Urban, Indigenous Groups, People with Disabilities, Youth, Extreme Poor


Project Components

Stipend for Consumption Support, Asset Transfer, Coaching, Savings/Self-Help Groups (savings and credit services), Technical Livelihood Skills Training, Financial Literacy and Capability Training, Healthcare Services, Education, Governance 

Our Partners

FundaLachuá was established in 2007 as a non-governmental, non-profit development organization in Lachuá, Guatemala, composed of productive and social associations for people of Q’eqchi‘ ethnicity to help build a society that is fair, prosperous, democratic, and in harmony with the environment through the implementation of sustainable development programs to improve the livelihoods of the population and protect the natural resources of the region. FundaLachuá has partnered with Trickle Up since 2009.