Building Municipal Government Capacity in Central America

The dot-ORG project of the Academy for Educational Development (AED) recently initiated the Promoting CONnEctivity among Local Governments in CenTral America (CONNECTA) program, in collaboration with Federación de Municipios del Istmo Centroamericano (FEMICA), and NetAssessment.

Logo of FEMICA, core partner in LAC Conecta project. This USAID/LAC Bureau funded activity is a year-long project to assist municipal governments in Central America to achieve cost effective ways to improve their access to quality training and online information to improve their technical capacity and operational skills through the use of better information management tools.

Lack of IT Infrastructure Hinders Access to Information and Training
Throughout Central America, more than 90% of public administrators do not have access to affordable sources of information and training, including online courses on the Internet. As few as 15 municipalities and local government offices in Central America have reliable IT infrastructure. At most, some municipal governments have a general dial up account inaccessible to most key workers within the government.

The result is relative isolation and stagnation in training and information resources available to these government offices, which in turn hinders their ability to deliver quality services to their consituents. The information is available using online resources (especially through organizations such as FEMICA) but these municipalities just cannot access it without the IT infrastruture.

Using Local Organizations to Build IT Capacity
The CONNECTA Project will leverage FEMICA's unique position to influence international and national decision makers to work with USAID regional office, bilateral missions, national municipal government associations and local government officials.

FEMICA provides political and technical support to national municipal associations, local political authorities and urban managers in Central America. An umbrella ’association of associations’ based in Guatemala, FEMICA links municipal officials and authorities throughout the region, providing opportunities for exchanges and disseminating ideas and information about the programs and activities of members in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

NetAssessment hosts an interactive network of professionals, working in development issues throughout Latin America, using ICTs for Development.

With the support of dot-ORG, FEMICA and NetAssessment will develop a five-year regional strategy to make connectivity a top priority for municipal for municipal development across Central America. Approximately five municipalities will be selected as case studies to provide grounding to this strategy. The municipalities will be selected based on agreed criteria and that are "on the brink" of connectivity.

FEMICA Portal for Capacity Building
The CONNECTA project will develop the FEMICA portal to allow the expansion of the type and level of services to its constituents. The portal will also ensure that FEMICA's training programs and technical assistance are available to every municipality via online services. This online information exchange will enable public administrators to support each other and share information on local projects.

dot-ORG was awarded the CONNECTA Project September, 2003 for a period of 12 months, funded by USAID/LAC Bureau (Subagreement under the Access Associate Award No. GDG-A-00-02-0016-00 under the dot-ORG Leader Award No.GDG-A-00-01-00014-00).

For More Information, Contact:
Sergio Ramirez
, Academy for Educational Development
Tel: 202 884-8811

Sergio Cambronero
President & CEO, NetAssessment
Tel: 506-261-0482

Related Resource Partners
Related DOT-COM Activity
Central America - Promoting CONnEctivity among Local Governments in CenTral America (CONNECTA)
Related DOT-COMments Newsletter Articles
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Core funding for the DOT-COM Alliance is provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture & Trade, Office of Infrastructure and Engineering (EGAT/OI&E), Office of Education (EGAT/ED), and Office of Women in Development (EGAT/WID), under the terms of Award numbers: GDG-A-00-01-00009-00, dot-GOV; GDG-A-00-01-00014-00, dot-ORG; GDG-A-00-01-00011-00, dot-EDU.
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