GEDI: Strengthening entrepreneurship in rural Guatemala

Filed Under: EARTH News
Date: July 29th, 2022

The Guatemala Entrepreneurship and Development Innovation Initiative (GEDI) has earmarked more than US$10.3 million with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other partners to fund eight organizations working to mitigate irregular migration from Guatemala. Citizens will have new employment, social, and economic opportunities that will allow them to stay in their communities with a better quality of life. Among the eight organizations selected is EARTH Futures, our global solutions center.

Under the Solutions Development pillar, EARTH Futures has worked hard to empower small farmers in Costa Rica and Guatemala. A successfully designed and implemented project integrates precision agriculture to improve farmers’ decision-making on their land while strengthening their capacities to enter local markets. Farmers can work more sustainably and sell their products at better prices.

The EARTH Futures team created a project called REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship for Agricultural Livelihoods) that will be implemented in partnership with Funcafé (Fundación de la Caficultura para el Desarrollo Rural), the National Coffee Association (Anacafé), and the Vivamos Mejor (Live Better) association. The project’s objective is to help 16 small businesses in the administrative regions (departments) of Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, and Sololá, increase their production, investment capacity, and access to new markets. These businesses market products such as mushrooms, honey, and coffee were selected because their areas have some of the highest rates of irregular migration in Guatemala.

“With our partners’ support, we will work with coffee, mushroom, and honey cooperatives and associations and focus on increasing their income by improving agricultural production, sales, business, and alliances. We want these organizations to grow economically so we can generate more opportunities in the communities,” says Pablo Chacón, EARTH Futures Project Coordinator.

In 2021, after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris requested GEDI’s creation to reduce migration from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) launched a call for applications. More than 75 organizations applied to be beneficiaries. We celebrate EARTH Futures’ and our University’s commitment to creating new opportunities to improve the lives of thousands of Guatemalans. The impact is evident, the ideas and projects are continuous, and the desire to create a better world is always present in the minds and hands of a team that gives everything for the common good.

We invite you to read this article if you would like to know more about GEDI and the eight beneficiary organizations.