The civil war in Guatemala displaced large numbers of people in the zone of violence during the 1980s. The peace agreements between the factions in the conflict made special provisions for the setting up of a programme to resettle approximately 40,000 displaced and refugee families. The strategy of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements has been to play a catalytic role in building the capacity of local authorities and communities to deal directly with the resettlement and to provide them with the instruments to develop investment proposals to be funded by third parties. The project has prioritized the development of the skills of selected community members (the Promotores) to plan and design shelter and settlements development activities. A second aim of the project is to build the capacity of local authorities to cope with the increased needs posed by the influx of returnees, and to provide a minimum of services to the resident communities. An important part of its activities is directed towards the formulation of proposals and designs for the provision of shelter, infrastructure and services by other funding sources. development. In 1998, local authorities and communities had designed over 200 projects for the attention of the infrastructure and services needs of the resettled population and neighbouring communities. Half of these are currently completed or under construction, thus, exceeding the planned targets of the project.
In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide and civil war, the new government of Rwanda has faced enormous challenges. The first has been to rebuild a shattered society and reintegrate almost 3 million refugees. In the capital Kigali and other major urban centres, most of the public buildings, infrastructure and innumerable homes had been reduced to rubble or were severely damaged by the war. In 1998, several hundred public and community buildings have been renovated. In order to meet the most basic needs of Rwandan returnees for shelter six principle sites were identified in Kigali and Butare covering over 1000 hectares of land. Additional funds totalling US$ 6,170,000 were secured from donor agencies. The sites have been carefully planned to include road networks, water and sanitation systems, market areas and an adequate electrical supply in an environmentally sustainable manner.