Urban Municipal Governance

The Urban Municipal Governance (UMG) is a seven-year project designed to reduce levels of violence in municipalities most at risk of violent crime through enhanced municipal governance, increased coverage and quality of municipal services, and greater citizen participation and oversight.


UMG currently works in the following eight cities across Guatemala: 1) Guatemala City; 2) Villa Nueva; 3) Santa Catarina Pinula; 4) Chimaltenango; 5) Escuintla; 6) Coatepeque; 7) Chiquimula; and 8) Puerto Barrios. Since 2017, UMG has supported a total of 18 municipalities. Key stakeholders include municipal officials and staff as well as underrepresented community members, particularly women and youth. The populations of these urban centers are primarily ladino; however, they are magnet cities for internal migration from other areas of Guatemala.


Guatemalans face an unprecedented amount of violence in their day to day lives: 17.47 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, nearly three times that of the United States. Statistics on sexual violence, extorsion, and other violent crimes are just as jaw dropping. UMG seeks to reduce levels of violence in the cities most at risk of violent crime by stimulating more responsive municipal governments where citizens can flourish rather than flee. UMG does this by supporting cities to provide local economic development opportunities, violence prevention programs, increasing citizen participation in decision making spaces while also ramping up transparency and accountability. Local governments play a critical role in supporting residents to thrive and UMG provides the technical knowhow to make that a reality.


UMG is helping municipal governments to reduce violence in three ways: 1) Increase own-source revenue so that city hall can sustainably finance violence prevention programs; 2) Strengthen local non-profit organizations which administer primary, secondary, and tertiary violence prevention programming; and 3) Invigorate citizen participation in local government. Here are three key results from UMG to date:

  • UMG partner municipalities have planned and budgeted for 287 violence prevention and irregular migration activities of which, the following are now institutionalized for long term implementation with no USAID support: English for Life, English for Work, Parents on a Mission, Municipal Citizen Participation School.
  • The UMG project trained 581 municipal officials in planning, budget formulation and execution, contract and procurement management, and the use of technology which resulted in eight out of ten target municipalities increasing income by 29.77% on average from 2021 to 2022, allowing them to use additional income for violence prevention and irregular migration programming.
  • The UMG project facilitated 73 alliances to date between national programs and municipalities which strengthen multi-stakeholder interventions. National-level government programs often struggle to reach the municipalities to implement their programs due to limited budget and the strain of sprawl. By developing these alliances, city governments and national institutions can reach more vulnerable populations with much needed violence prevention programming.

This project is expected to run from January 27, 2017 through September 24, 2023 with an estimated total USAID investment of $46,358,261.

USAID’s implementer for this project is Tetra Tech.