This is one of ten case studies that were part of an IIED research programme on \"Urban Poverty Reduction Programmes: Lessons of Experience\". The research was undertaken with support from DFID and from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
El Mezquital is a large informal settlement in Guatemala City with over 20,000 inhabitants. Externally funded, community-based programmes have brought considerable improvements in housing, infrastructure and services since its formation by a land invasion in 1984. This paper considers both the positive and the negative experiences of this settlement's development process
from its formation, growth and consolidation up to 1999. It assesses the interventions of external agencies (local government, national agencies, international NGOs and official donor agencies including the World Bank and UNICEF) including their impacts and their relationships with community organizations. It draws primarily on interviews and focus group discussions with the inhabitants of El Mezquital and with staff from agencies that have supported programmes within the settlement.