Amplifying the voices of migration in Guatemala

24 Apr, 2023

Amplifying the voices of migration in Guatemala 

Each year, the safety and wellbeing of a significant number of children and young people is at risk as they travel unaccompanied between Central America, Mexico and the USA.

Three of our alliance members came together to develop a project in which young people could explore some key questions around migration: Why do children migrate? What are the risks of migrating? What would help during the journey? What changes are necessary? 

One of the local organisations involved was CONACMI, who focus on preventing violence against children and young people in Guatemala. The country is a key transition point for Latin American migration to North America, and a recent study also found that one-third of Guatemalans were planning to migrate.  

Learn below how CONACMI’s latest project used a technique called Photovoice to help empower those affected by migration issues, by providing a platform from which their voices could be heard.

What is Photovoice?

Photovoice gave participants a chance to express their thoughts and feelings on migration through the art of photography. As well as the essential space in which to share and discuss ideas, and have their voices heard, the project gave them new technical skills, and therefore increased confidence. The project worked with 12- to 17-year-olds in Chinautla – where many families hope for opportunities outside the country – and comprised of three phases:

  1. Training in areas such as use of digital devices and observational and analytical skills.
  2. Field work: taking and developing photographs to express their experiences.
  3. The presentation of final work in the exhibition ‘My Voice Matters’.

The virtual exhibition proved a great success. Attended by participants, government officials and NGO representatives, it really did provide the greatly needed platform from which to amplify the voice of those affected by migration issues.

A member of the CONACMI team spoke of the benefits this project brought: “The impact of this activity was significant, both for the members of the Photovoice team and for the representatives. The adolescents had the opportunity to meet and talk with the institutional representatives about problems that affect their community and particularly on migration, emphasising the need to prevent family separation and expedite the reintegration processes of children and adolescents with their families.

Being taken into account and being listened to was something motivating and hopeful for them, they are already looking for other spaces so that their voices count. They took on the role of leaders who seek solutions and see a better future with hope for all.”

Learn more about the project

You can learn more about the issues covered by this project in the report ‘How Courageous We Had To Be’. To read about work done by other local organisations supporting children and young people facing issues surrounding migration, visit our Childhood On The Move page.

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