Why education?

“Education is the most important means for preventing the inter-generational transmission of inequality and poverty in Guatemala.” —World Bank Guatemala Poverty Assessment

“Education is the most important productive asset most people will ever own.” —Michael Walton, co-author of another regional World Bank study

How does education show up as an asset in everyday life? How does it make a tangible difference in quality of life for families living in poverty? A study by UNESCO has shown that in developing countries like Guatemala, a high school degree can double a person’s lifetime earning potential. As a high school graduate, a young adult in Guatemala can start a professional career in fields like teaching, accounting, and office administration, instead of picking coffee or cleaning houses their whole adult lives for a less than livable wage.

The problem is, a particularly vicious circle exists in most impoverished households, where poverty and low education persist for generations. As the Guatemala Poverty Assessment explains it, “Young people from low-income households have to work in order to contribute to the welfare of their households. … In so doing, they reduce their educational attainment, which in turn will mark them as the poor parents of tomorrow.” By providing access to quality education, Common Hope strives to unwind this cycle.

Sources and further reading

World Bank, Guatemala Poverty Assessment, “Education and Poverty in Guatemala”

UNESCO, “Financing Education: Investments and Returns”

The New York Times, “A Boost for the World’s Poorest Schools”