In 2014, we successfully concluded a 10-year project that significantly improved health services and educational opportunities—and established a new, sustainable model for development—for the people of Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and best known simply as Alianzas (which means “alliance”), the project pioneered new mechanisms for cooperation between public and private partners. Alianzas formed alliances by inviting new potential partners to participate in existing projects and jointly create solutions that could be implemented through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or government-led projects.
The overall purpose of Alianzas was to extend coverage and improve the quality of existing health and education services and incorporate state-of-the-art and proven approaches for increased social sector investments.
Improving Access to and Use of Quality Health Care and Nutrition Services
Alianzas focused on maternal and child health, including promoting breastfeeding and family planning, as well as community and school nutrition, and workplace programming in support of HIV prevention. Throughout the life of the program, Alianzas delivered impressive results in
- 202,008 women and children obtained increased access to maternal and child health services
- 172,494 women and children obtained increased access to projects that addressed growth monitoring and promotion of improved feeding and health and hygiene practices
- 92,153 individuals were counseled on child health practices
- 18,684 children received immunizations
- 8,228 high-risk individuals received preventive interventions for HIV
- 2,238 community health workers were trained to provide integrated management of childhood illnesses.
Addressing Quality, Access, Equity, and Efficiency in Education
Alianzas favored projects that worked on increasing reading performance and completion of primary education in priority municipalities and among excluded populations, especially in rural populations, among indigenous groups, and those performing below standard.
In totally, the project deliver improved learning opportunities to more than 330,000 children and youths. For example,
- 168,551 books or other learning materials were provided
- 10,711 teachers received training
- 1,585 girls completed sixth grade with assistance from scholarships
- 4,340 boys and girls received lower secondary school and upper secondary school scholarships
- 2,198 students received post-secondary and university scholarships.
Leveraging Private-Sector Investments
In addressing development challenges, Alianzas sought to develop strong partnerships to leverage knowledge, experience, and funding from the public and private sectors.
Funding was leveraged from international, regional, and local corporations and companies, as well as nonprofit organizations and service clubs, trade and industry associations, faith-based groups, foundations, and individual and group philanthropies. In total, Alianzas leveraged more than $35 million from the private sector.
RTI played a key role as a broker between entities interested in financing social sector interventions and local implementers or service delivery organizations, negotiating geographic location and interventions to maximize the health and education benefits to the poor and other beneficiaries at the community level.
By fostering voluntary mergers of resources and competencies, Alianzas transcended the capacity of any particular sector or partner alone and established a shared commitment to making sound social investment