Hivos partners in Guatemala win big in the European Union

September 9, 2018

Hivos is very happy to announce that projects of two of our Open Contracting program partners in Guatemala have won the CivicTech4Democracy 2018 global competition.

The projects are initiatives of journalism platforms Laboratorio de Medios (Media Laboratory) and Plaza Pública (Public Square), which have had great impact in Guatemala in recent years by playing a key role in the fight against corruption and impunity. We are very proud to have them as partners.

Ojo con mi pisto

The Ojo con mi pisto (“Be careful with my trail”) project of Laboratorio de Medios promotes transparency and the fight against corruption, inspects how local governments use municipal funds and encourages citizen engagement in Guatemala. It seeks to share information and data on whether the contracts entered into by municipalities actually benefit citizens. Ojo con mi pisto trains journalists to use tools so they can monitor how their municipalities spend public funds.

Ana Sofía Ruiz, until recently regional manager of our Open Contracting program in Latin America, says the award is an important international recognition of Ojo con Mi Pisto’s efforts to promote transparency and accountability. “Their work is rigorous and based on evidence. They have matured as an organization and in their technical capacities, developing strong data-based communication skills. Using their research and publications, they’ve managed to stop irregular purchasing processes, while being very responsible about protecting their sources. We are very pleased with the work they do and we hope they continue to grow much more!”

This video explains more:

Plaza Pública

Plaza Publica’s Laberinto del poder (Labyrinth of power) project addresses the lack of information about power networks in Central America. They make it easier for journalists and researchers to dig up facts and promote transparency. Laberinto del poder adds and opens databases, automates visualizations and provides research related to real influence peddling, tax avoidance, illicit public purchases, media concentration and hidden subsidies.

Since the platform’s launch two months ago, more and more researchers have been requesting access to their data. Thanks to Laberinto del poder, Guatemala’s four largest sugar companies were forced to pay all the back taxes they owed, and the government has now reassessed their land ownership.


CivicTech4Democracy is a global competition held by the European Union to promote and reward democratic innovation throughout the world, showing how citizens everywhere are continuously creating new ways of bringing democracy closer to the people.

The six winning projects will be exhibited in Brussels on September 17, 2018.