socio-ecological systems natural resource management
sustainability research developmental impact studies


An Austrian NGO, Horizont 3000, assigned the Institute for Anthropology with a social impact analysis of one of their projects in Guatemala, Central America. Between 1996 and 2001 the project “Xelagua” attempted to reform the local drinking water supply of Guatemala’s second largest city. The provincial capital Quezaltenango is situated in the western highlands (2,300 m.a.s.l) and has about 150,000 inhabitants. The three main features of “Xelagua” were the designing of a “master plan” for the water system which permits a supply until the year 2018, the reorganisation of the concerned administration and of course a campaign to sensitise the population for sustainable water use.

The social impact case-study “Xelaque”, attempts to evaluate how the three goals have been realised during “Xelagua”. A set of quantitative (questionnaires) as well as qualitative (interviews) methods were used tracing two main components: the impact of the “master plan” for the reorganisation of the local administration and the customer satisfaction of the inhabitants and small local companies.

As the results of this social impact case study show, this combined method supplies the needful tools not only to evaluate development aid projects, but also to contribute to the human ecological perspective of global sustainability.

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developmental impact studies


Institute for Anthropology

Last modified 8 October, 2004 -