To address these challenges, GOAL developed a methodology between 2001 and 2004 for community contracting which involved decentralizing technical units of the FHIS to mancomunidad level (association of municipalities level). This approach, which later became known as Projects Executed by the Community (PEC), involved mancomunidades contracting communities directly, to execute their own social investment projects. This strategy is now consolidated under a national program called Strengthening Local Capacities (FOCAL –acronym in Spanish).
The FOCAL program is centered on strengthening municipal capacities to decentralize power and development processes to local level. The associations of municipalities (mancomunidades) provide a key technical support role in application of the FOCAL methodology. The approach is executed through capacity building of the mancomunidades to support the municipal level governance structures to complete their own municipal development plan, completed through data collection, planning and the effective use of social investment.
Strengthening local capacities at both municipal and mancomunidad level ensures that communities are empowered to analyze, identify, plan and execute social investment projects in an effective and participative manner. GOAL has continued to develop and promote the PEC model while partnering with JICA and the Honduran Secretary for Interior and Population (SEIP) to implement FOCAL.
Since 2011 alone, this program has been rolled out across 200 of the 298 municipalities in Honduras with projects in social infrastructure, livelihoods and social protection implemented using the PEC (Projects Executed by the Community) methodology. Over 1,000 PEC projects have now been successfully completed in Honduras. Variations have also be developed by other agencies included PEC-Agua which is specifically for water, sanitation and hygiene projects executed by community water committees.
The methodology has also been adopted by a number of major investors in social infrastructure in Honduras, including the Japanese International Cooperation (JICA), USAid, InterAmerican Development Bank and KfW.