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PCI Signs Groundbreaking Agreement with a Major Agency of the Government of Guatemala

Published 11/21/2019 by Global Communities

Through its state institution, INFOM, Guatemalan government and PCI will collaborate to scale PCI’s innovative Neighborhood Approach nationwide

Project Concern International (PCI) has signed a groundbreaking agreement with the Government of Guatemala’s National Institute for Municipal Development (INFOM in Spanish) to bring PCI’s innovative approach to building resilient communities to neighborhoods across Guatemala. Through this agreement, the Government of Guatemala will provide financing to municipalities throughout the country to upgrade high risk settlements, including using PCI’s Neighborhood Approach.

“PCI is honored to support the Government of Guatemala as they lead the effort to build strong, resilient neighborhoods for vulnerable citizens across the country,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, PCI’s President and CEO. “PCI believes in the power of local insight to sustain meaningful change, and the Neighborhood Approach puts world-class tools for tackling urban vulnerability in the hands of municipalities and neighbors who work together to transform their community well before the next disaster strikes.”

With technical insights and funding from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), PCI pioneered the Neighborhood Approach in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, designing an integrated strategy to rebuilding at the community level. This approach centers on community partners, who lead efforts to transform high risk or informal settlements vulnerable to natural and other disasters into safe, healthy and resilient neighborhoods.

Also with funding from OFDA, PCI implemented this approach in Guatemala, in a project known as Barrio Mio (“My neighborhood” in Spanish), transforming two neighborhoods in Mixco Municipality, a densely populated urban area located on a hillside at risk of landslides, flooding and earthquakes. The project upgraded communities’ water, sanitation and hygiene systems, developed rainwater drainage infrastructure, improved stairways and emergency evacuation routes, engineered retaining walls, and reinforced housing structures through a cost-effective process that featured the active participation of the beneficiary communities and the collaboration of public, private and academic actors. Since then, the initiative has scaled to seven municipalities in and around the metropolitan area of Guatemala City.

The success of Barrio Mio inspired the Government of Guatemala to scale this approach nationwide. The Government of Guatemala is making available to interested municipalities more than $100 million to finance urban upgrading initiatives using the Neighborhood Approach, which may be supplemented by future public and private sector agreements. Over the next 12 months, PCI will continue to work with local counterparts to refine, validate, and pilot tools for urban upgrading of highly vulnerable areas, as well as work to develop strategic partnerships to support scale-up of the initiative.

About Project Concern International (PCI): PCI is a San Diego-based global development organization that drives innovation from the ground up to create meaningful and measurable change in people’s lives. Together with our partners, we empower communities to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship and advance women & girls. We envision a world in which the most vulnerable people will have the power to lift themselves out of poverty and to create vital, healthy lives for their families and communities now and for the future. Last year alone, PCI impacted the lives of nearly 10 million people in 15 countries, including the United States. For more information, visit