Faith and Development in Focus: Guatemala

March 31, 2017

Guatemala is grappling with questions involving values that underlie its development strategies and policies. The reality of inequalities, concerns about social tensions and violence, painful historical legacies, and questions around governance are at the center of development debates. Religious leaders and institutions are deeply involved. They see themselves, and are commonly seen, to have responsibilities for defining and upholding values that reflect the best in Guatemalan society. Others, however, may see them as a brake to forward momentum, an impediment to progress, or a contributor to significant social tensions. This report provides an overview of Guatemala’s religious landscape—its history, contemporary institutions, and the dynamics of change— all in relation to major issues for development. The report is part of a broad effort to address these questions in the context of four countries, including Kenya, Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Senegal. It is based on original research in Guatemala and should be pertinent for national authorities, the full range of development partners (including civil society), religiously linked organizations, and others who may not have had the opportunity to focus on religious dimensions of society and economy.

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