Institute for Overcoming Urban Poverty
Located in Guatemala - Founded in 1994 - IDEX partner since 1995
Photo: Marlon García
ISMU focuses on helping communities negotiate and mobilize collectively to get their needs met and their rights recognized.
The Institute for Overcoming Urban Poverty (Instituto para la Superación de la Miseria Urbana – ISMU) was formed by community groups in the urban shantytowns of Guatemala City. They joined together to improve living conditions in their neighborhoods. Many lacked basic necessities such as decent housing, sewage systems and potable water.
In light of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war that displaced huge numbers of people to the already crowded urban areas, ISMU continues to focus on helping communities negotiate and mobilize collectively to get their needs met and their rights recognized.
Today, ISMU is a network of organizations working in 22 communities, funding income-generating projects, providing training in financial management, organizational development, and leadership skills. It also works to coordinate advocacy campaigns, legalize land tenure, improve housing and infrastructure, and create community services such as schools and childcare centers. In addition, ISMU has a strong disaster response and prevention program, developed from the experience of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and Hurricane Stan in 2005.
IDEX supports ISMU’s core programs, including employment training, women’s microenterprise loans, and educational scholarships and leadership development for women and youth. In late 2005 and early 2006 IDEX channeled over $100,000 to ISMU for its emergency response campaign after Hurricane Stan.
Check out our IDEX blog to learn more about what ISMU does!
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