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For Transparency and Accountability

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In the water sector in Guatemala, services are poorly managed and causing deficiencies in quality and distribution, and, in the end, massive health problems amongst rural children, women and men. This is not due to a shortage of resources or technical capabilities but rather to deficiencies in governance and integrity. With this project Helvetas contributes to change this, especially in most remote areas.

  • Project Name
    GIGAM – Improving governance and integrity in the management of the water services in the Highlands of San Marcos
  • Project Phase
    2018 to 2020
  • Funding
    This project is co-funded by the European Union.
  • Thematic focus
    WASH & Water Governance

This project was completed in 2021.


Water services in the municipalities of the highlands of San Marcos are still poor due to weak organizational management, lack of coordination, participation and articulation. Therefore, we want to change this situation. The malfunctioning of services in the Altiplano Marquense has serious implications for health resulting in an increased incidence of diarrhea, infant mortality and chronic malnutrition. That is why, we support our local partner ADIMAM (an association of 13 municipalities) in its efforts to improve access to good water services, secure functionality of water infrastructure and introduce and consolidate good water governance.

As such, our project GIGAM  strengthens governance structures of municipal and community services within the water sector in the Highlands of San Marcos. Regarding this, we consider the following two dimensions: (i) organizational and institutional management of services based on public needs; and (ii) the responsibility of local governments and community authorities to comply with principles of integrity, transparency and accountability.

The project approach is based on the transfer of methodologies, experiences and lessons learned from the project "Promoting Integrity in the Water and Sanitation Sector (WIP)" which Helvetas has implemented in 5 other municipalities in San Marcos.

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Better water services improve people's living conditions. © Helvetas
Due to the ongoing C19-pandemic, ADIMAM staged communication campaigns and provided protection equipment and supplies to the partner municipalities
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The villagers are very interested in the new project. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
The necessary activities are developed together in training sessions. © Helvetas

GIGAM strengthens the participation of community organizations and municipal governments in the inclusive management of urban and rural water services in the Highlands of San Marcos in a transparent way. For a lasting impact of the project, ADIMAM is strengthened as an organization, that strengthens and accompanies the municipalities and communities in their governance and integrity of water services. Over 80 municipal staff and over 60 community leaders underwent a postgraduate modular training on water governance, and have put these in practice regulating their water services better, advocating for better budget allocations and installing accountability mechanisms, leading not only to fairer distribution of the water resources but also to the financial health of the water departments and committees, and, as a consequence, better water services and less health problems.

The ongoing COVID19 pandemic hit especially hard in San Marcos. It thus reinforced the need for accessible, well-managed and clean water services. In addition to the planned project activities, ADIMAM therefore staged communication campaigns, and provided protection equipment and supplies to the partner municipalities to carry out disinfection works in urban areas such as parks, markets and health centers.

This project is co-funded by the European Union, Helvetas and the municipalities. More information about the Delegation of the European Union to Guatemala can be found here.

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