National partner profile: Guatemala

Asociación Manos Amigas Deporte Y Recreacion


Asociación Manos Amigas Deporte Y Recreacion Guatemala (Helping Hands Sports & Recreation Association Guatemala) was established in order to promote physical and recreational activities for children and youth in urban and rural areas of Guatemala, as well as to support their academic development.

AMA run festivals of street football and a national street football tournament. They organise an extensive, structured six-month training course called Young Leadership, Changing the Game (“Liderazgo Joven Cambiando el Juego”) designed to train individuals to organize their own football programmes. The course includes workshops on human rights, values, and political education.

The course teaches them to apply the Changing the Game methodology in their own communities and consists of both practical and theoretical training. It covers five modules: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Advocacy, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and National Sport and History of Guatemala. Throughout the course, young leaders learn about the social and political context of Guatemala. With this knowledge, they can address issues in their communities and schools more efficiently and sustainably.

At the end of the programme, young leaders are encouraged to come up with a plan for a street football festival for social transformation adapted to their local context. Each year, 50 young leaders are trained.

Besides football, AMA use lacrosse as a tool to engage participants in their sports activities, with the further aim of offering them an opportunity for development and an escape from insecure and dangerous social situations, such as youth gangs, crime and violence, substance abuse, and sexual exploitation.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement


Asociación Manos Amigas Deporte Y Recreacion Guatemala work to improve the quality of life of marginalised communities, with a focus on women and youth. They support vulnerable groups by growing their self-confidence, promoting gender equality, generating social and cultural changes, and fighting against poverty. The organisation uses football and education for social transformation.

Through sport, AMA fight drugs and organised crime, and reclaim the streets of Guatemala for positive and empowering activities.

Goals for the future

Capacity Expansion

To encourage more street football programmes across Guatemala and work together with Jóvenes de la Calle, another NGO working with disadvantaged youth in Guatemala City


To run 10 street football festivals and develop the national street football league in the community of Ciudad Quetzal


To strengthen relationships with companies in the private sector and develop strategic partnerships with government

Additional information

Partner since


Football Activities

Training sessions, a national tournament, and street football festivals

Team selection

The selected players are young people who have taken part in their youth leadership programme and have trained regularly and worked hard in order to achieve change through sport in their communities.

Non-football services

Violence prevention, education, training policy, social development, and workshops on human rights; values ​​and political education through their youth leadership programme “Young Leadership, Changing the Game”; and lacrosse.

Participants challenges

Poverty, lack of education, sexual exploitation, domestic and street violence, and substance abuse

Country challenges

Indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable to homelessness due to forced evictions and demolitions (Periodísmo Alternativo, 2014).


Another cause for homelessness is gender-based violence – 47% of women in Guatemala suffer from domestic violence (Women Under Siege, 2012). On average, two women are killed every day, making the lives of homeless women particularly insecure (CSIS, 2013).

Homlessness definition

There is no official definition of homelessness yet. In 2012, Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina advocated for a policy to support the development of communities facing extreme poverty, following strong pressure from homelessness advocacy groups (CRS, 2014).

Homelessness Statistics

More than 475,000 people are believed to have absolutely no housing at all. Around 8,000 street children are at risk of recruitment by street gangs (CGC, 2012).

Guatemala experiences frequent earthquakes, such as the 2012 earthquake, which left thousands of families homeless (CCTV, 2012).

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