Guatemala 2020

Advancing Transparency through Multi-Sector Reform

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)


In a multi-faceted approach to promote transparency at national and local levels, the institute will strengthen the monitoring and advocacy capacity of civil society organizations and independent media platforms and assist Congress to advance reforms. This will include helping media and civic groups to monitor non-elected public executive boards, the work of sub-national development bodies, and the selection of the members of the country’s Constitutional Court (Corte de Constitucionalidad, CC), in addition to continuing its work to strengthen the newly elected Congress’ efforts to promote reforms.

Citizen Oversight of the Constitutional Court Magistrate Selection

Guatemala Visible


To promote citizen participation in overseeing the selection of the Constitutional Court magistrates and advocate for a fair process and democratic candidates. The organization will educate the public on the Court and its importance through social media communications, workshops, and webinars. It will promote the selection of qualified candidates through providing evaluation tools to the selection committee and promoting transparency by broadcasting the events live on social media and following up with an analysis of the process.

Creating Participatory Legislation

International Republican Institute (IRI)


To increase the ability of Congress to draft legislation and reforms that respond to citizen needs and municipal stakeholder perspectives, and to provide citizens more opportunities for involvement and oversight in the legislative process, the institute will implement a legislative consultation and socialization process that brings together Congressional committees, municipal and national government, civil society and citizens. The institute will ensure all actors have communication skills to participate fully and will support civil society oversight of committees to integrate the feedback received through this process.

Creating Spaces for Youth Leadership and Dialogue

Jovenes por Guatemala


To encourage youth participation in Guatemalan politics by improving channels for young leaders to exchange ideas and engage with government institutions. The grantee will establish a youth working group to involve students from five universities in Guatemala City in debating topical national issues and proposing solutions to relevant government institutions. It will also carry out a training program, host a Youth Congress, and hold dialogue sessions between youth leaders and government actors.

Investigative Journalism: A Focus on Guatemala’s Political Actors and Institutions



To defend democratic institutions by fulfilling the media’s important role as a watchdog. The grantee will produce a number of investigative journalism pieces about the actions of the incoming administration. The grantee will also conduct investigations into important figures linked to the current and incoming administration, report on actions of Congress on corruption matters, and develop an interactive tool to monitor the creation of new laws in Congress.

Modernization of Guatemala’s Electoral and Political Party System

Asociacion de Investigacion y Estudios Sociales


To contribute to reform and modernization of Guatemala’s electoral and political party system. The grantee will generate expert analysis and technical documents on various facets of the reform process to date and pending priorities. The group will also provide technical assistance to the country’s electoral tribunal and the Congressional committee for electoral affairs as both entities assess the 2019 elections and lay out next steps. 

Oversight of Municipal Public Spending

Laboratorio de Medios


To report on and highlight actions of municipal governments in 2020 from the perspective of local impact and community needs. The grantee will work with local journalists to closely track and audit the use of municipal funds in dozens of municipalities. The group will make the information available on its online platform, disseminate it through social media, and produce weekly mini-reports for publication. It will also produce a podcast series and circulate videos and the corresponding audio via local radio. 

Promoting Legislative Agendas on Citizen Security Reforms

Asociacion Civil Dialogos


To create a common agenda among legislators, civil society organizations, and academia on needed citizen security reforms on the penitentiary system and youth in state custody. The grantee will insert an evidence-based discussion on those topics into legislative decision-making processes and public opinion spaces. The grantee will develop legislative reform agendas on the penitentiary system and advocate for attention to these priorities. Finally, it will campaign for the development of legislation in line with the agendas and monitor the status of the legislation or its implementation.

Protecting Democratic Space and Strengthening Institutional Accountability

Asociacion Civil Red Ciudadana


To prevent further democratic backsliding in Guatemala and address key issues that engender disillusionment with democracy in the country. The grantee will promote citizen participation and engagement in improving local governance, along with holding officials accountable to campaign promises. In addition, the group will advocate for improvements in campaign finance and other anti-corruption measures. Finally, the project will explore opportunities to establish a regional network of democracy activists to share experiences and develop joint approaches to the region’s common challenges.

Revealing Local Level Illicit Networks and State Capture

Myrna Mack Foundation


To analyze illicit networks operating at the local level in Guatemala and their impact on institutions and the quality of democracy. The grantee will collect, cross check and systematize information about political networks that influence elections, networks linked through state contracts for public works, and other networks of influence and clientelism. The grantee will focus on three specific municipalities that provide emblematic, yet diverse cases and disseminate a final report on micro-capture of the state at the local level.

Strengthening Democracy through Entrepreneurial Systems and Citizen Engagement

Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)


To stimulate a democratic culture based on citizen engagement and entrepreneurship, the center and its local partner will educate young entrepreneurs from rural Guatemala on democracy, citizenship, and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on the creative industries. The center will work with the local partner to develop a better understanding of the root causes of migration, develop new entrepreneurship training methodologies, and provide direct strategic planning assistance to a nascent entrepreneurs’ organization. 

Strengthening Media Coverage of Covid-19’s Impact on Democracy

Aramendia, Pedro, Solorzano, Sociedad Civil No-Ficcion


To produce high-quality investigative journalism that analyzes threats to democratization in Guatemala, with a specific focus on the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic to democratic institutions. The digital media outlet will produce in-depth reports and multi-media pieces to explain how corrupt actors are taking advantage of the pandemic. The organization will produce pieces that demonstrate the government’s distinct vulnerability during the pandemic, the social needs caused by the virus, and the severe economic gaps exacerbated by ongoing quarantines.

Strengthening Transparency of Public Investments in Guatemala

Accion Ciudadana


To promote transparency of public investments in the context of covid-19 and monitor government spending in response to the pandemic. To ensure transparent public procurement practices, the grantee will establish a permanent monitoring and evaluation process and follow up with legislative reforms on the matter to support economic revitalization after the pandemic. The grantee will also seek to enhance public dialogue around international standards and best practices for anti-corruption efforts in the private sector.

Supporting Judicial Integrity in Guatemala

Association of the Bar of the City of New York Fund, Inc


To strengthen the institutional capacity of Asociación Guatemalteca de Jueces por la Integridad (AGJI) and to promote judicial independence in Guatemala. The organization will provide mentorship to the group of judges and assist them in bolstering their administrative capacity and international profile. The project also will promote advocacy for judicial independence through tools, trainings, and supporting ongoing research and dialogues with relevant actors in the region.