El Salvador has an average rainfall almost three times greater than the rest of the world. However, it is also a country which faces serious socio-environmental problems resulting from the growing scarcity of water for human consumption and the development of agriculture and industry. A serious disparity exists between rainy and dry seasons – either flooding or drought.
Our projects in El Salvador focus for example on the protection and sustainable management of natural resources. We work with communities to solve socio-environmental conflicts at the local, national and regional level. Our efforts are aimed at creating a new attitude to water, based on the fundamental principles of water as a public commodity.
Social and political change
Aside from environmental situation El Salvador faces also major of social and political challenges. As the most densely populated country in the Americas many of its problems today stem from a stark division of wealth between a ruling elite and the majority of the population, many of whom live in absolute poverty.
This is what led to the civil war in the 1980s. Seventy thousand people died. A series of natural disasters followed, leaving 1,200 dead and 1 million homeless.
A change of government in 2009 brought hope, but for many years the popular feeling here was that the government was doing nothing to address the poverty in El Salvador. There are high levels of crime, and the presence of violent gangs; high unemployment; dreadful labour conditions; low government social investment; continual environmental deterioration; and, despite some successes of the women’s movement, limited women’s rights.
Alongside with its partner organisations Progressio is addressing the challenges of the El Salvadorian people. Our development workers are helping our partner organisations to expose policies that have a bad effect on the lives of local people and propose alternatives.
The role of Progressio Ireland in El Salvador has never been more important. Given the territorial size of the country, its ever-growing population and a lack of government concern for environmental sustainability, the plight of the poor is visibly deteriorating.
Map of El Salvador
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