Honduras—Local Governance Activity (HLG)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2016-2021

Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

Country: Honduras

Solutions: Governance

Despite greater economic stability since 2000, Honduras has yet to significantly improve living conditions or reduce poverty for much of its citizenry. The inability of local governments to provide effective public services to their citizens has emerged as a key barrier to tackling the inter-related challenges of sluggish economic development and a lack of trust in the democratic system. Furthermore, poor governance and poor accountability at the local level serve to exacerbate border issues such as the rise of organized crime and surges of migration to the United States.

In this climate, the U.S. Agency for International Development has designed the Honduras Local Governance (HLG) project to enhance public service delivery as well as increase the transparency, accountability, and responsiveness of local governments. HLG works in 80 municipalities in six departments in western Honduras to address entrenched socioeconomic challenges related to food security, climate vulnerability, and gender disparity to sustainably improve the lives of the Honduran people.

HLG engages multiple governance stakeholders, including municipal and state agencies, mayors, city council members, civil society organizations, and national-level institutions, to develop better service delivery policies. The program also ensures that citizens see the tangible benefits of democratic engagement by first working to understand the unique needs and priorities of local populations in each partner municipality, and then supporting local governments to effectively respond through targeted training and grant assistance.

Sample Activities

  • Bring together disparate local agencies responsible for health, education, and water to improve coordination of services and partner with national poverty alleviation programs.
  • Improve engagement and advocacy processes to better empower and involve vulnerable populations, including women, youth, and indigenous persons.
  • Assist municipalities in creating user-friendly tools to increase transparency and accountability, such as a Citizens’ Guide to the Budget and an annual Budget in Brief.
  • Utilize community planning processes to identify priority small infrastructure projects and provide technical assistance and funding to support construction.

Select Results

  • Issued an Annual Program Statement to 18 mancomunidades (association of municipalities) in the six departments to solicit expressions of interest and grant applications from the mancomunidades to fund innovative approaches to address core challenges in Western Honduras.
  • Provided a grant to the Association of Municipalities of Honduras (AMHON) to support the Technical Secretariat for the Administrative Career Law (SETCAM). Through this support, the grantee will help municipalities generate the knowledge, skills, and technical capabilities needed to contribute to the modernization and transparency of local public management in Western Honduras.
  • Provided an in-kind grant to the Secretariat of Governance, Justice, and Decentralization (SGJD) to improve the capacity of its management. The goods donated consist of information technology equipment that will allow the SGJD to improve its physical facilities and provide adequate equipment for its operation and thus improve the provision of the service to the municipalities, mancomunidades, Citizen Transparency Commissions and other instances at the national level.
  • Delivered 119 health kits—including scales, measuring rods, teaching materials, and counseling sheets—to eight decentralized health managers who will use these kits to expand coverage to 26 communities that previously lacked the resources to help undernourished children.
  • Developed a digital dashboard to provides key partners such as mancomunidades, local governments, and soon, local service providers of education, nutrition, and water and sanitation with information in a visual and interactive way.
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