In the 1990s, the National Government of Guatemala passed reforms to devolve significant responsibility and authority to municipalities and spur broad-based economic growth in light of inadequate centralized systems and a rising demand for public services. After more than 10 years, the decentralization process is still a work in progress because factors such as poor representation of women and indigenous leaders in municipal government and in local development councils; lack of skills and experience among municipal officials to conduct public outreach and communication and lack of effective accounting systems to build public trust.

Tetra Tech’s overarching objective through the Local Governance Project (LGP) is to ensure that local governments are capable of implementing economic development and nutritional security activities to reduce chronic poverty and malnutrition. We are working with 25 municipalities in Eastern Guatemala and the Western Highlands to strengthen municipal governance and promote local development. We are developing alliances with national and international donors and civil society organizations.

Congratulations on today’s activity with the Municipal Institutions. Aside from the fact that it was a really well-organized and well-directed event, the questions that were posed and the topics that were raised were very thorough and were not simply campaign matters. It is evident that the strategic union between ANAM and AGAAI and this agenda has strengthened the alliance.

Casey Wheeler de Vides, Democracy and Governance Advisor, USAID Guatemala (Translated from Spanish)

Tetra Tech is supporting government decentralization efforts in three main ways:

  • Helping to build municipal capacity by supporting tax collection policies, improving water quality, improving competitiveness to increase business development, and systemizing municipal records
  • Promoting citizen participation in municipal planning and budgeting activities, especially municipal women’s councils
  • Supporting national municipal representative associations, which work to replicate best practices/models and advocate for local government reform

Through LGP, Tetra Tech has achieved the following results:

  • Successfully applied GIS for municipal potable water management and collection
  • Produced a municipal government guide
  • In the most recent financial report requirements of the national government, 24 of 25 municipalities submitted their reconciliation reports for expenditures on time to the Comptroller General
  • Provided financial and technical support to the Municipal Commission for Women in each municipality supported; these units promote women’s participation in local planning, budgeting, and the formation of water association groups.
  • Supported the National Association of Indigenous Authorities (AGAAI)