Working in partnership with Catholic Relief Services, NCBA CLUSA will help establish a local Community Development Fund as part of the new $50 million Communities Leading Development Project in Guatemala funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Other project partners include Mercy Corps, ADIPO, Caritas Los Altos and Caritas San Marcos.
NCBA CLUSA and other project partners understand the importance and effectiveness of communities leading their own development. The Communities Leading Development consortium will work to improve the quality of life for vulnerable populations, including women, indigenous people, youth and people with disabilities, in some of Guatemala’s most marginalized communities. Communities Leading Development will work with 200 communities in the five departments targeted by USAID, including Huehuetenango, Quetzaltenango, Quiché, San Marcos, and Totonicapán, to support communities in creating and transparently implementing their own development plans over five years, through 2021.
The project aims to empower communities through participation in the development and implementation of community development plans, identify and prioritize community needs and assets, improve resilience through strengthened community social cohesion, and build alliances with the public and private sector for community development at scale. NCBA CLUSA’s role includes $4.2 million to set up and sustain a Community Development Fund eventually funded at $25 million and to promote private sector investments.
The Community Development Fund model for this project is based on the success of the sustainable Enterprise Development Fund NCBA CLUSA set up in Aceh, Indonesia in the mid 1990s. Funding from the Enterprise Development Fund contributed to the initial investments in thriving local businesses and cooperatives in Indonesia. Today, over 20 years later, there continues to be investment in hundreds of local communities, including small business loans made to women in the agriculture sector. Similarly, the aim of the Community Development Fund is to facilitate that level of successful local economic investment in Guatemala by financing projects that do not normally have access to funding, including producer organizations, cooperatives and small community businesses.
Over the course of the project, partners aim to leverage another $50 million in private and public sector local investments, either directly with community projects or through the Community Development Fund, which will be disbursed in partnership with a local Guatemalan bank. Increasing private sector engagement and use of local financial resources will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the overall project.
Being able to access investments and funding through the Communities Leading Development Project will be an important part of addressing development needs in Guatemala’s Western Highlands in an inclusive, sustainable and efficient way.
Learn more about NCBA CLUSA’s current work in Guatemala through the USAID Cooperative Development Program.