Building Communities of Practice for Better Planning: Steps Forward for Municipal Planning Offices in Guatemala

Client: World Bank Institute
Faculty: Paul Smoke
Team: Jen Coady, Kris Evins, Simon Gerson, Andrea Perry
Year: 2006
In order to include local input in the national infrastructure development plan, the Guatemalan Government created a decentralized public investment program known as the Sistema Nacional de Inversiones Publicas (SNIP). A crucial part of this program are the Oficinas Municipales de Planificacion, or OMPs, where investment projects are identified, evaluated, and prepared for approval by the national government. Anticipating their mission to Guatemala, the Capstone team researched Public Investment Programs throughout the world for comparative experiences, and participated in several videoconferences with SNIP stakeholders. Accompanying a Representative from the World Bank Institute, the team visited several municipalities in Guatemala to determine the capital, human, and technological resources available to OMPs. Using feedback from mayors, local planning directors, and other municipal representatives, the team identified various tactics to improve the effectiveness of the OMPs. These recommendations will be included in the World Bank Institute's training program for the First National Congress of OMPs in June 2006. The Capstone project highlights the importance of improving current practices within unique resource constraints, rather than building an ideal, yet impracticable system.