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Country Profile: Guatemala

Once the heart of the ancient Mayan civilization, Guatemala boasts a rich heritage that is still woven throughout its culture. Sadly, the country suffered a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996, a conflict that left the country deeply scarred. As a result, Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in the world and the indigenous population is largely affected by discrimination and lack of access to basic necessities and education. Youth are both victims and perpetrators of violence, and gang life is a daily reality. Violence has affected the population so much that the World Health Organization declared youth violence as a global health problem and has recommended the need for effective prevention programs.

Play for Peace is active in seven different communities, both urban and rural, and the clubs are diverse in population—made up of indigenous groups, a women's collective, and university students. All of the communities where Play for Peace is active struggle with poverty and violence. Youth facilitators there work to build relationships with the children they meet during play sessions, and most children return regularly to participate, learning to cooperate in a group and make new friends. Several children, who started out as participants, are now youth facilitators who bring change and peace to their communities.

The work of youth leaders in Guatemala is growing in number and impact. They will continue to bridge divides between ethnic groups and inspire hope in children and youth in communities affected by conflict.

"The program gives young people the opportunity to interact and participate in meaningful activities. It helps them not only stay away from trouble, but also find the self confidence and courage to stand up against violence and become positive and respected leaders in their communities."   

Juan de Dios 
Director, Community Youth Program, Palencia, Guatemala 

Play for Peace Clubs, Projects and Stories

Play for Peace Palencia

Palencia, Guatemala


Palin, Escuintla

Play for Peace Cuyuta

Masagua, Escuintla

Play for Peace Champel

San Felipe, Guatemala

Play for Peace AMARC

Columba, Quetzaltenago

Kojb'iyin Junam

San Raymundo, Guatemala


San Felipe, Guatemala

Jugar Xla Paz Cantel

 Quetzaltenago, Guatemala

  • Mar 5, 2024

    In all these years of Play for Peace in Guatemala, we have shared with many organizations, communities, and people who know that this works to achieve changes for peace and a more just world. Abel Erim Aldana has been part of this community since 2008 implementing our work model in his community, Abel is a leader in favor of violence prevention at heart, he lives in one of the most difficult areas of the capital Guatemala.

  • May 19, 2023

    Trainer, Andres Armas, just recently brought Play for Peace to a new community in Guatemala and said this is “Play for Peace in action. Youth have the right to live in peace. Let's give them those spaces of happiness.”

  • Sep 14, 2022

    These are just some life stories of people who, in their youth, believed in the importance of PFP for their formation as leaders of peace. They now inspire other people to form new leadership for a better world, there are...

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