Break the cycle of migration

Leadership, education, and development within reach of indigenous communities.

Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Sociales y Desarrollo

Children and Youth

Our story

About our campaign

Mayan teenagers and young adults from small villages in western Guatemala hope to live in communities where they can reach their personal and collective dreams. We cannot allow money to stand in the way of this future and be the reason they decide to emigrate.
We dream of a Guatemala that provides teenagers and young adults with the conditions they need in order become social leaders who are capable of multiplying their knowledge and experiences in ways that support decision making processes and help others carry out their life goals in the place they were born.
According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), in 2015, teenagers and young adults (15-24 years old) represent just over 22% of the total Guatemalan population. Many live in poverty (53% of the total population and 40% are indigenous) and the lack access to healthcare, education, and employment are characteristics shared among many of the country’s communities. It is because of this situation that many young people are forced to migrate in search of alternative ways to guarantee their own survival as well as that of their family and community.


For 2019, the LED project’s main goal (LED: Leadership, Education, and Development) is to strengthen the leadership abilities of maya-k’iche’ teenagers and young adults in Totonicapán and Quetzaltenango. Specifically, the project seeks to build personal and collective leadership skills that will contribute to breaking the cycle of migration.


Why it matters:

Our work involves carrying out a variety of community-level activities based on a training program with teenagers and young adults between 15 and 20 years old; 50% of participants are female and 50% are male. This training incorporates activities designed to strengthen participants’ social leadership skills, specifically their ability to formulate and promote collective initiatives that impact their own lives and those of their community members. In order to participate in this process, our youth participants will be assigned an annual scholarship.


By designing and carrying out successful activities with teenagers and young adults, this program also strengthens solidarity, social commitment, and new dreams of constructing prosperous and feasible communities that are possible thanks to their efforts.


Scholarship recipients are identified and selected in each community in coordination with local education institutions, local authorities, and community organizations. We consider characteristics such as age, sex, personal trajectory in community service, and willingness to engage in the training process. This willingness is expressed via a letter in which candidates state their personal commitment to the process.


Each scholarship includes individual and collective participation in this training process over the course of 12 months. These funds also contribute to funding the community activities that program participants design in training workshops.


Each scholarship has a value of $360.00 and every donation -big and small- helps us to work towards our goal.


About our organization

INCEDES was founded in Guatemala in 2005 by a group of Guatemalan researchers who studied regional migrations and the conditions that caused them. They decided to found INCEDES in order to create an institutional framework that would allow them to advocate for changes in legislation, policies, and local realities associated with migration based on the information their research generated.


Our mission is to strengthen society’s ability to address regional migrations as well as formulate and advocate for public and social policies that fully protect the rights of migrants and their families and encourage the right not to migrate.


To do this, we have established four lines of work:

  1. “Social Vulnerability and Development for the Migrant Family” Program: coordinates and supports processes in Mayan origin and destination communities that promote grass roots efforts to generate conditions that facilitate the right not to migrate.
  2. “Applied Research Program”: conducts research on issues related to youth and labor migrations, the relationship between migration, development and human rights, remittances, and immigration legislation
  3. “Education Program”: coordinates trainings with government officials and courses with international students and regarding migration and development
  4. “Public Advocacy Program”: advocates and advices national and regional executive and legislative bodies on migration issues.




Sumemos esfuerzos


Veronica Lamas


Juan Lucero


Timothy J Steigenga


Veronica Lamas


Susanne Jonas


Kat An


Enrique Alejos Close

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