Improve Maya Women’s Access to Justice in Rural Guatemala

A project in rural Guatemala to improve Maya women’s access to justice yielded important lessons learned for all actors in this space, including: a) The importance of working vigilantly with community leaders, or alcaldía indigena, as they often determine whether cases of violence against women should be referred to the authorities, and play a key role in awareness and coordination for case management. These leaders need to be engaged meaningfully and strategically so that they, at a minimum, do not block justice processes. Some of them may even be perpetrators. b) Provision of legal support services will lead growing demand, so future projects need to establish a mechanism to respond while strengthening inter-institutional efforts to continuously provide these services. c) Survivors of gender-based violence need integrated support services throughout the process to seek justice, involving land titles, housing, childcare, income generation, and psychosocial support. Established relationships with organizations that can offer these services will help women access integrated support.