Municipio al Día, an online platform, offers local officials in Peru access to tools that help them improve their municipalities’ performance. © IFC
For years, Emilia Gavancho, the head of human resources for Peru’s municipality of Concepción, had the most basic problem faced by HR managers: a shortage of suitable candidates for critical jobs.
Like many other municipalities in Peru, local officials in Concepción depended on well-informed professionals to improve services, manage investment, and ultimately help reduce high levels of poverty. When her recruitment process failed to deliver, Gavancho turned to Municipio al Día, a free online information and advisory service platform for Peru’s municipal authorities. It offers local officials access to the tools they need to improve their municipalities’ performance and promote economic development.
The site, which was created with support from IFC, helped Gavancho build a strategy to recruit the talented professionals that Concepción needed. Among other things, Municipio al Día helped show her that "Everything begins with the preparation of the right questions," she says.
Over 20,000 registered users from all of the country’s provinces and 88 percent of its districts have used Municipio al Día since its 2007 launch. In addition to offering government employees a way to strengthen their management and investment skills, it has proven to be an especially critical resource for local officials struggling to manage royalties from Peru’s oil, gas, and mining industries.
The idea that Peru’s municipalities needed a “one-stop shop” for information and guidance gained traction a little over a decade ago—when an overwhelmed central government and high turnover in local administrations left local officials without experienced advisors.
Together, IFC and the Peruvian think tank Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, with support from the Government of Canada, created and launched Municipio al Día. The round-the-clock resource is accessible even in some of the most remote places of the country, reducing the gap in access to information and technical knowledge between small and large local governments.
Public servants throughout Peru have responded. One research study showed that 79 percent of the direct queries in the platform were information requests to carry out an administrative task—which means that public servants consult Municipio al Dia before performing their daily work. Forty percent of the queries Municipio al Día helped resolve were related to the application or interpretation of a regulation, and 33 percent referred to a specific legal issue of that regulation. These results show that Municipio al Dia users have basic knowledge about public regulation and rely on the platform to analyze it at a higher level.
Municipio al Día is an example of IFC’s work to strengthen investment capacity in the municipalities, especially in extractive regions of Peru that need information to help them adopt good investment processes. Peruvian law mandates that the central government transfers part of the royalties received from these investments to local governments. Transfers since 2004 have exceeded $16 billion.
However, weak institutions and a lack of management skills among municipal officials has led to limited investment capacity at the local government level—and as a result, many communities living in municipalities receiving royalty transfers remain among the poorest in Peru. More than 40 percent of the 1.5 million inhabitants of these regions live below the poverty line; more than a half million lack access to basic services such as water and sewage.
Promoting the adoption of good investment practices by providing municipal officers with relevant information, training, and methodology via Municipio al Día and related tools can ultimately benefit citizens living in over 1,800 of Peru’s municipalities.
The Municipio al Día platform is now operating under the umbrella of Peru’s national government, and its user numbers are growing. Between 2008 and 2016, the website was visited more than 14 million times. It has conducted over 35,000 direct municipal management consultations—an average of 450 consultations per month. It has become so successful that it no longer requires support from IFC.
Read more about what IFC is doing to enhance benefits to communities at www.commdev.org.
This story is also available in Spanish.
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Published in October 2017