In Guatemala, DW Akademie helps people who want to initiate change – through information.
A mobile radio studio on a Guatemalan schoolyard. Radio Sónica, one of DW Akademie's partners in Guatemala, offers disadvantaged young people the opportunity to express themselves.
Guatemalan society is characterized by the greatest social disparity in Latin America. Poverty is widespread, and many people, especially children, lack access to the healthcare and education systems. Money has been siphoned off from the state. At the same time, people barely understand the cause of their problems and are unaware of their legal rights.
In regions outside the capital, many people can only receive the stations owned by a private television monopolist. There are also very few radio stations in Guatemala. And even though more than twenty languages are spoken in Guatemala, most of the stations broadcast in Spanish. Anyone whose native language is not Spanish cannot access information and is shut out of public life.
In 2015 a historic change took place in Guatemala. Mass protests swept across the country and the former president was sentenced to prison on corruption charges. New initiatives were emerging across the country, along with demands for more comprehensive and transparent information from the government and administrative bodies.
DW Akademie promotes new and direct communication channels in Guatemala for people who have no access to independent information sources. DW Akademie does not only work with journalists, but also with human rights activists. DW Akademie and its partner Guatecambia/Congreso support transparent civil society organizations that publish and request relevant information from local authorities. The local media organizations have to prepare the content so that it can be understood by audiences and spread on social networks or broadcast on radio. We also help develop new digital tools to minimize the dependence on traditional media.
We also work as advisors for creators of new communications concepts for media – for example for the Guatemalan Institute for Radio Education (IGER). Its radio station Radio Sónica offers disadvantaged young people the opportunity to express their opinions freely and a mobile studio is taken to schoolyards in problem districts.
Also part of IGER is Radio Sayaxché, which can be received in almost the entire rural north of Guatemala. The channel is a platform for Mayan communities. Volunteers produce an independent program in the local language, Q'echí – this is unique in the province of Petén.
Together with their partners, DW Akademie offers safety courses for journalists to make sure that they can report without fear. DW Akademie is also involved journalist training in rural areas.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country Coordinator: Johannes Metzler
Locations: Guatemala-City, Sayaxché
Main focus: Participation of disadvantaged groups, civic engagement, participatory media services, reconciliation with the past