History of the Peace Corps in Guatemala

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History of the Peace Corps
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Since 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries, more than 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 138 countries all over the globe.

See also:



The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Guatemala in 1963. Since then, more than 4,500 Volunteers have served in Guatemala, providing assistance to rural families in cooperation with governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). During an average year, approximately 200 Volunteers serve in Guatemala. Currently, Peace Corps Volunteers are assigned to work on projects related to agriculture, environment, health, small business development, youth at risk, and municipal development.

History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Guatemala Projects evolve with the changing needs and opportunities in Guatemala. Brief descriptions of our current projects follow.


Agricultural Sector

Sustainable Agriculture Development

This project focuses on teaching small farmers to produce non-traditional crops and raise small animals for either family consumption or the local market. Agricultural production Volunteers provide training in organic production techniques, soil management, and utilization of local resources.

Marketing Volunteers teach farmers basic marketing tools to improve family incomes, including financial record-keeping and analysis of production costs, market and price analysis, production planning, and post-harvest management.

Environmental Sector

Conservation and Management of Natural Resources

Volunteers assigned to this project work with small farmers to manage woodlots for sustainable yields. Volunteers teach technical aspects of plant production systems, agroforestry systems, and various reforestation methods.

Community Environmental Management

Volunteers assigned to this project train community members to minimize the human impact on natural areas and buffer zones or multiple-use public lands. Project activities include environmental education, solid waste management, and ecotourism.

Health Sector

Healthy Schools

Volunteers in this project facilitate health education with accredited Guatemalan primary school teachers, who are trained by the Volunteer to teach health lessons. Volunteers teach students about health and personal hygiene, assist in developing training workshops for teachers, and work with parent-school committees to promote school sanitation.

Appropriate Technology for Family Health

Volunteers in this project teach rural families about health and simple technologies that can improve family health conditions. Volunteers work directly with families and community groups to build technologies such as improved cooking stoves, water systems, and waste treatment facilities (e.g., latrines).

Small Business Development Sector

Small Business Development

Volunteers in this project teach basic business management skills to small business entrepreneurs and youth so that they can make better business decisions.

Municipal Development

Municipal development Volunteers work with personnel from rural governments to strengthen government ability to provide basic services and infrastructure to isolated areas. Volunteers train rural communities to identify, prioritize, program, execute, and evaluate community development projects.

Assignment History

Sector Assignment Beg. Yr End. Yr
Agriculture Ag Economics 1981 2007
Ag Education 1986 1997
Ag Extension 1981 2007
Animal Husband 1969 2004
Animal Husband Lg 1978 1997
Apiculture 1972 1988
Crop Extension 1962 2007
Farm Mechanics 1987 1987
Fisheries Marine 1980 1991
Soil Science 1982 1988
Business Business Advising 1981 2008
Business Development 2000 2008
Cooperatives 1981 1992
NGO Advising 1995 2007
Urban and Regional Planning 1999 2007
Crisis Corps Crisis Corps 1996 2007
Education English Teacher 1989 2007
Fisheries Fresh 1980 2006
Gen. Construction 1976 2007
Home Economics 1982 1986
Industrial Arts 1970 1983
Literacy Ed. 1986 1986
Phys. Ed/Youth Wk 1975 1989
Prim-Ed/Teach Trn 1998 2008
Secondary-Ed Math 1999 1999
Secondary-Ed Sci. 1987 1990
Environment Comm Forestry Ext 1986 1998
Environmental Ed. 1990 2008
Forestry 1978 2007
Protected Areas Management 1987 2008
Health Envir. and Water Resource 1976 2008
Health Degreed 1983 2004
Health Extension 1981 2007
Home Econ/Ext. 1980 1994
Hygiene Ed/Sanitation 1981 2007
Nursing 1980 1997
Master's International Masters Internationalist 1990 1999
Other Flexible App 1969 1994
Unique Skill 1988 1991
UNV United Nations Volunteer 1989 1998
Youth and Community Development Appropriate Tech. 1981 1994
Commun. Serv/Deg. 1968 2008
Road Const/Engin. 1973 1973
Rural Youth Dev. 1980 1994
Youth Development 2003 2007