Guatemala—Nexos Locales

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2014-2023

Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

Country: Guatemala

Solutions: Climate Economic Growth Governance Fragile States

Nexos Locales works with 44 Feed the Future municipalities in Guatemala’s Western Highlands to foster more responsive, inclusive, and effective socioeconomic development while reducing local vulnerabilities such as food insecurity and natural disasters. To achieve this goal, the project works at the intersection—or nexos—of good governance.

Nexos Locales increases the capacity of municipal governments to raise revenue; respond to citizen concerns about violence and security, food insecurity, and global climate change; and improve public financial management. The team works with municipalities to improve basic services delivery and security plans, as well as increase civil society participation in decision-making.

Nexos Locales also increases the capacity of the National Association of Municipalities and the Guatemalan Association of Indigenous Mayors and Authorities to support municipal development and replicate successful models nationwide, including municipal crime prevention plans.

Sample Activities

  • Improve municipal provision of potable water in municipalities.
  • Develop sound public financial systems to promote transparency and permit participation by citizens in decision-making.
  • Strengthen civil society participation in social accountability processes.
  • Establish and implement local development plans to improve food security and economic development.

Select Results

  • Partnered with the Guatemalan Ministry of Finance on an innovative water metering and billing mobile application to provide citizens with a transparent and effective means to pay their water bills.
  • Supported the municipality of Chiantla, Huehuetenango, with the development, launch, and end-user evaluation of a smartphone transparency app called #SomosChiantla to provide citizens with a user-friendly interface for finding information about local government public expenditures. In 2018, the project replicated the app in San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta, San Marcos, and Sacapulas, Quiché.
  • Provided assistance and disseminated easy-to-use tools developed by the project for municipal governments’ to expand their revenue sources; as a result, 37 municipalities increased their revenues by an average of 53 percent in 2018.
  • Strengthened municipal water and sanitation offices, resulting in a tripling of the number of municipalities providing safe water to citizens.
  • Created three public-private partnerships in the municipalities of Uspantán, Nebaj, and Cunén.
  • Assisted with the design and launch of three Citizen Charters, a social accountability tool that formalizes the mutual responsibilities between citizens and the municipality in providing public services.
  • Advocated through the National Association of Municipalities for the passage of the first reading of the municipal career civil service bill in the plenary of the Guatemalan Congress in late 2018.
  • Performed a first round of annual water quality testing across 22 municipalities in the Western Highlands. Results revealed that 81 percent (18 municipalities) are now complying with water quality standards, which represents a 27 percent increase over testing completed in September 2021.
  • Worked with municipal personnel from Tacaná and Santa Cruz del Quiché to conduct reforestation campaigns across forestlands spanning seven acres. Overall, volunteers from local schools and academic institutions planted 6,200 tree seedlings for the effort.
  • In coordination with AGREQUIMA, a private company that works on agricultural affairs through a public-private partnership with the Guatemalan Government, assisted with the distribution of 50,250 vegetable seedlings across 18 municipalities. Families received high-nutritional value vegetable seedlings including cauliflower, radish, broccoli, and spinach. The use of these seedlings helped establish 670 family orchards which will increase food security and income generation for families. Overall, 3,350 people are benefiting from expanded food security under this activity.
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