Chimaltenango, Guatemala

The Need


Our AECOM employee led team (“Team”) is committed to lead a five year international development program in theChimaltenango region of Guatemala and help the Mayan community of La Joya el Aguacatal achieve reliable and safe community access to education, healthcare, market and emergency response through the design, engineering, planning and construction of a vehicular and pedestrian bridge.The bridge will directly benefit approximately 300 community members, as well as 900 residents of Xanimajuyu village in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

Currently, community access is only available via a dangerous, makeshift bridge, used daily by women and children despite it being hazardous and be

low the flood line during rain season. A new bridge will provide significant community benefits by reducing travel risk and increasing access and cutting travel time to education, as well as lowering the cost of transporting goods to market and improving medical emergency response. In addition, the Team aims to provide ongoing training and economic development activities to empower local residents, increased self-sufficiency, and resiliency.

A vehicular bridge was first identified as essential by the Community several years ago. After years of searching for support, the Community approached the current San Martin municipal administration for assistance, and following a site visit, the Municipality staff deemed the bridge a priority, advanced the project request to Engineers Without Borders (EWB-USA) Guatemala, and granted land permissions required  to construct a vehicular bridge.


The Team

In summer 2017, a team of AECOM employees collaborated with the EWB-NY Professional Chapter launching an Engineers Without Borders (EWB) pilot program in the New York City Metro area. The notable endeavor marked the first employee-led corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of its kind within AECOM and EWB.

Following a six-month program development phase, which prioritized team development, recruitment and retention, and leadership and skills development in the selection of a Community project, the Team applied to help address pressing needs of the Mayan community of La Joya el Agaucatal in Guatemala’s Chimaltenango region.

Today, the Program includes approximately 40 AECOM employees serving across all leadership positions and committees, as well as approximately 20 non-AECOM employees who are uniquely drawn to the Program story and needs of the Community. The Team was awarded the Program in late 2017, kicked off the Program in early 2018, and will begin work by designing and constructing a safe and reliable vehicular and pedestrian bridge.

Program Approach

Processional skills, certifications and experience will support every aspect of work and the intended outcome. Team members are organized into Program Driving Committees based on experience, interests and development goals. Sustainability and maintainability will be a priority of the Technical Design. All activities performed on this project will be tied to a robust logical framework which will serve as the dashboard to monitor and evaluate the project’s impact from its conception to operation. A logframe has been designed based on the Community’s goal statement and will include both qualitative and quantitative parameters to help monitor & evaluate the project’s success in achieving the intended purpose.

In collaboration with the Community, strategies will be defined for proper site development and for reducing the environmental impact of the project. These may include landscaping and rain water management, with the goal of protecting or restoring the existing natural habitat. Strategies for reducing construction waste will also be identified, including the development of a clear construction waste management plan, life cycle considerations in materials selection, and prioritization of environmentally friendly production, locally sourced, recycled content.