Nikki Gamer has penned a piece in Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on a report for a study carried out on what helps to keep Guatemalans rooted to their communities. The timing coincides with the visit to Guatemala of the U.S. Vice-President, Kamala Harris.
As people from Central America continue to migrate to the U.S. in record numbers, a new study commissioned by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) finds that most people in Guatemala would choose to stay in their communities if they were able to access basic services, such as education and health care.
According to the study, entitled “Rootedness and the Decision to Migrate”, of 785 people surveyed, 77% had little or no intention to migrate out of Guatemala. Factors keeping people rooted to their homes include: access to basic health and educational services; access to stable and formal jobs, especially for young people; access to formal education and other types of training, especially when linked to profitable job opportunities; and the knowledge and skills to adapt to climate change.
“Unlike other migration studies, which have focused exclusively on the causes driving people to leave the region, we looked at the factors encouraging people to stay,” said Nicole Kast, CRS Guatemala’s head of programming. “By better understanding and investing in the factors that help people root and thrive in their communities, we can better address migration in a more effective and humane way.”
You can read the full Press Release, here, In Guatemala, Most People Wouldn’t Choose to Migrate, New Study Says, which also includes links to the report, in both English and Spanish, as well as a link to CRS’s migration policy brief, ‘Rootedness to prevent forced migration’, which is based on the study.
Nicole Kast, CRS Guatemala’s head of programming, wrote an accompanying piece in The Hill, which concludes in the “hope that Vice President Harris relays the message that Guatemalans, like most Americans, are deeply connected to their communities and their country. They want to stay. It’s up to our policymakers — and the voters who elect them — to help these families make good on that desire”. You can read the full piece here, Central America: Let’s focus on why people stay.