Creating new avenues of resilience to sustain peace from Kaqchikel, Q'eqchi' and mestizo women.


Carolina Coc, lideresa Alta Verapaz. Photo: UN Women Guatemala

Even after the signing of the Peace Agreements, violence against women persists in Guatemala. Moreover, different forms of violence against women, particularly against indigenous women, emerge and intensify, as evidenced by high levels of femicide, disappearances, forced child motherhood, and cyber attacks.   

The role of young women as peacebuilders is critical to change the narrative that has been becoming more aggressive and dangerous. The internal armed conflict dispelled the hopes and dreams of many Kaqchiquel and Q'eqchi's women. They are now the grandmothers whose voices have gone from singing and poetry to demanding justice. There is a strong need to connect the grandmothers with young women. This granddaughter generation is now singers, artists, and influencers including in cyberspace to build together a new narrative that can sustain hard-won progress and prevent the recurrence of conflict and violence. 


"I had been a leader for years, but they always left me out. When I went to meetings they used to ask me: "What are you going to say? And I just kept quiet… Someone once told me to stop trying to go up the stairs because I didn’t belong there. Now I understand that it was a way to attack my leadership. I felt inferior and scared. I’ve shared with my community everything I’ve learned thanks to this project. I am no longer afraid." - Carolina Coc, Alta Verapaz leader. 

The project set out to address a significant gap in peacebuilding by responding to systematic and emerging tactics directed against women peacebuilders in traditional and new terrains, such as cyberterritories, where persecution takes on new dimensions and has a lasting effect. By facilitating intergenerational and multicultural alliance between Q'eqchi', Kaqchiquel, and mestizo women from Alta Verapaz, Chimaltenango, and Guatemala City, supported by key state institutions, the project aimed to shift their position from targets of violence to peace-sustaining protagonists, addressing the emerging and ongoing forms of conflict and post-conflict related violence against them that have been amplified through information and communication technologies (ICTs) and in cyberspace.


With funding from the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), the project contributed to positioning women peacebuilders as key political actors by strengthening their partnership with state institutions for developing replicable actions for protection and access to justice.

Colectivo Chiviricuarta 6.jpg
Colectivo Chiviricuarta 6.jpg

The transformation in the relationship between local women leaders and security and justice institutions and the recognition of their response capacity was one of the project's main results. Turning to the security and justice authorities in the event of being a victim of violence in cyberspace became the first option for 61% of the women beneficiaries of the project, compared to 29.1% before the intervention.  

Partnership mechanisms were promoted between institutions and women leaders, generating tools to strengthen institutional action, such as the active route for crimes of violence against women committed by cybernetic means and complaint forms integrating elements for cases that occur through cyberspace. The gender perspective and intersectionality were incorporated into the National Civil Police's systems for registering complaints and in its capacity to provide a differentiated response to women.  

This, together with the strengthening of the interoperability of the computer systems of the National Civil Police, the Judiciary, and the Public Prosecutor's Office, contributed to a structural change in the complaint process, improving decision-making based on reliable information generated by an integrated information system between institutions. This change is equivalent to a 15% increase in the number of cases registered by the National Civil Police in the Department of Guatemala.

Colectivo Chiviricuarta
Colectivo Chiviricuarta. Photo: UN Women Guatemala

In addition, intergenerational sisterly alliances were promoted between women peacebuilders and pioneers, resulting in the generation of collective advocacy strategies and increased participation of women in decision-making spaces and positions at the local level, including within governmental institutions.   

The capacities of women leaders were increased to interrupt the drivers of conflict, apply self-protection measures and tools to address cyber violence, contribute to the generation of safe virtual environments through the development of transformative, intergenerational, and multicultural initiatives such as the "ENLÁZATE" initiative, which provides information about the types of cyber violence, prevention, and care. The "#Aliadas" and "las pilas" campaigns are aimed at strengthening sisterhood among women, promoting their leadership and participation in decision-making spaces, and include a component aimed at male "allies", as well as digital protection strategies.