What is Done in El Salvador
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What is Done in El Salvador – Humanitarian Highlights

Violence can truly destabilize countries. El Salvador is sadly one of the most prominent examples. This small country in Central America has homicide rates similar to those of war zones. In this context, humanitarian aid is vital.

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The Current Situation in El Salvador

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. The population is only 5.7 million, but it faces some of the worst inequality in the region. The crime rate is exceptionally high. And the neighboring countries are also facing a similar predicament, including Honduras and Guatemala.

Beginning in the 1930s, El Salvador has experienced several crises, including a military dictatorship and civil war. The war killed nearly 75,000 people, and many Salvadorians fled the country. Later, they were deported from the US, having formed violent gangs while abroad. Once they returned, the gang culture set its roots in El Salvador.

Today, the country has an estimated 50,000-70,000 gang members. The level of violence is higher than during the civil war and is comparable to the war zones in the middle east. The gangs target mainly civilians through extortion and other threats.

As a result, 200,000-300,000 Salvadorans flee their homes every year to reach safety. Many are deported once they reach Mexico or the United States. Also, thousands find themselves displaced within the country itself. Many are at even more risk when they return to their homes.

The violence has also affected all types of social systems in the country. For example, students frequently drop out of school for fear of being targeted by gangs. The government system has become weaker, and public services are mostly inadequate — natural disasters and phenomena such as El Niño further impact on the well-being of Salvadoran people.

Humanitarian Response in El Salvador

In the wake of so much violence, the humanitarian response in El Salvador is both necessary and challenging. Dozens of organizations are working in the country to reach long-lasting peace. Many are also providing essential services to Salvadorians. Others work in protection, particularly from gender-based violence and the human rights of migrants.

There are a couple of reasons why it is so hard to work in El Salvador. Firstly, many areas of the country are under gang control. This makes access difficult and even dangerous for many NGOs. They must negotiate with the gangs before they can provide any support to civilians.

However, another reason is that El Salvador, and the region in general, is considered low-middle income. That means that there isn’t as much funding flowing in from donors to support NGO activities. The high levels of inequality often mask the poverty that people suffer.

NGOs that Work in El Salvador

Despite the difficulties, hundreds of humanitarians work in the country. These are just some of the organizations delivering much-needed aid.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC works to prevent violence. They also support the victims of violence. Their lines of work include information services, cash relief, and emergency assistance. The IRC also focuses on strengthening coordination among the different NGOs in the country.

Oxfam El Salvador

Oxfam addresses several issues in El Salvador. They work on food security and sovereignty for the most vulnerable groups. They also address gender justice and human rights to water. Further, they provide a humanitarian response, prevention, and protection as needed.

Save the Children

Save the Children helps the children in El Salvador by addressing areas such as health, education, and violence prevention. They also work with farming families, providing them with seeds, livestock, and other tools. The organization also provides emergency response.

Aid El Salvador (AES)

AES started working in 2004 to improve the quality of life for marginalized communities. They work on education for underprivileged youth as one of their primary focuses. AES also executes related infrastructure projects.

Partners El Salvador

Partners El Salvador has four main lines of work. They work on governance and gender, research and youth, citizen security, and the environment. Their main goal is to find alternative conflict resolution and build a culture of peace.

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