“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.