Capacity Building, women & girls, Womens issues

Self-Defense for Morazán Women

Watch the Morazán Women’s Network take their first course on self-defense.

This special workshop was giving by Claudia Fuentes, a Salvadoran martial artist who has developed a self-defense program with a feminist approach especially for women and girls in El Salvador.

delegation, education, Youth Development

Technology in the Classroom!



We want to extend our sincerest gratitude to last year’s delegation from the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. for their initiative and generous donation to connect internet in the Centro Escolar Amando Lopez of Jiquilisco in the Bajo Lempa.

VOICES hired a local builder who constructed the 18 meter (59ft) tower and community members installed it. The purpose is to provide educators with the ability to innovate their classes and students the ability to deepen their research.

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Training Trainers in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education | Part 1

Orientations were held this month for the 60 Bajo Lempa educators and health promoters who will participate in a training and research project offered by an interdisciplinary team of family planning professionals, implementation and monitoring experts from the University of New Mexico. The process began last year when the university team and VOICES collaborated with Salvadoran rural communities to develop a sexual and reproductive health curriculum and training program based on the ECHO model. The Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes (ECHO), is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that promotes a better heath system that is efficient, low-cost, scalable and sustainable. Both parties will connect via videoconferencing.

DSC_1720The ECHO model is based on three educational theories:

  • Social Cognition: affirms that people should believe that there is a benefit in learning a new behavior and they should develop confidence in their ability to perform the behavior.
  • Located Learning: the importance of providing experience, modeled by the student, to develop new skills, while participating in their interests and simplifying tasks.
  • Community Practice: emphasizes learning through continued participation in a collaborative community of peer students and expert individuals.

The absence of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education has profound consequences that lead to high rates of teenage pregnancy, poverty, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and suicide. More than 46% of Salvadoran women have been pregnant by the age of 20, and 40% of pregnancies of women aged 15 to 24 years are involuntary. Adolescent mothers reach lower levels of education and experience high rates of poverty, while their babies are at increased risk of low birth weight, developmental delays, malnutrition and death. These problems are exacerbated in rural areas where access to health resources is low and poverty is common.

In 2012, the Ministry of Health, recognizing a deficiency, prioritized education in Sexual and Reproductive Health. Unfortunately, the curriculum currently being used in schools is limited and inaccurate. only 5.5% of teachers have been trained in it and many religious groups have blocked it from disseminating it effectively.


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ECHO project goals:

  • Establish the effectiveness of delivering a sexual and reproductive health curriculum.
  • Successfully incorporate the curriculum into Bajo Lempa schools reaching nearly 3,000 students.
  • Generate recognition and understanding of the model among civil society and national agencies.

VOICES is proud to partner with the university of New Mexico on this important project.
Follow us here to receive updates about the progress.

human rights, International Relations, migration, U.S. Relations

Thousands of Migrants March Towards Saftey

S2AAFCGVLAI6RA5C2HB5UKGWWY_103943202_migrants_caravan_route_4_640-ncOn October 13, 1,500 Honduran refugees began the long arduous journey from one of the most violent capital cities in the world in search of respite and peace. The majority of those seeking a chance for survival were young people, women and their babies.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras or People without Borders, who organized the foot march says the aim is to draw attention to the plight facing the migrants at home and the dangers they run during their attempts to reach safety in the US.

Every single migrant had his or her own personal reason for fleeing. For some, especially the young people, it was direct threats or acts of violence towards themselves or their loved ones. For others, it was the oppressive Honduran government that has been opposing people’s justice movements, or it was the fear of what would become of their children because of unemployment and starvation.

Two days later on October 15th, the caravan had grown to an estimated 3,500 by the time it reached the Guatemalan border.

Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua all belong to a migratory convention called The Central America-4 Free Mobility Agreement (CA-4), it is akin to the Schengen agreement in Europe, which allows nationals from 26 countries in the Schengen area to legally enter and reside in each other’s countries. Though this agreement exists, officials in Guatemala and El Salvador have met the caravan with hostility and armed suppression.

Citizens of Honduras and other Centro American countries have been paying the price of U.S. foreign policy atrocities since the beginning of the cold war, with their lives and that of their loved ones. Since the 2009 Honduran coup d’état that put economic elites in charge of the most important sectors of society, the country has been on a never-ending binge of oppression and violence. While this instability has no doubt strengthened the rise of gang violence in the streets, the government’s own tactics of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, protest suppression and the jailing of political prisoners have added to the upheaval happening at this very moment.

On Sunday October 21, as the 7,000 person strong caravan reached the Mexican border of Tapachula in the State of Chiapas, Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets, expressing anger towards central american governments inability to halt the progression of the foot march.

“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them,” Trump wrote.

An estimated 258 million people, approximately 3 per cent of the world’s population, currently live outside their country of origin, many of whose migration is characterized by varying degrees of compulsion. Migration is a fundamental human right. We have no right to forbid or stigmatise, we only have the power to try to do so.

Follow the stories: #CaravanaMigrante

News Highlights, romero

Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero has been Raised to Sainthood

October 14th, 2018
A crowd of 70,000 faithful huddled in St. Peters Square witnessed as Pope Francis elevated Oscar Arnulfo Romero to Sainthood. Among them were five thousand Salvadorans who made the pilgrimage to Vatican City to venerate their prophet, El Salvador’s cherished archbishop who was martyred (español) by the Salvadoran army on March 24, 1980.

The Pope, wearing the blood-stained rope belt that Romero wore when he was shot, also bestowed sainthood to Pope Paul VI, Nazaria Ignacia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano and Mary Caterina Kasper and Nunzio.

Across El Salvador, and in many latin American countries, tens of thousands held vigils and over the night watched the Mass live on giant TV screens in public squares.


Romero, after witnessing the constant repression by the Salvadoran government towards its own people, preached nonviolence and denounced injustices, amid an escalating civil war that would go on to displace over 1,000,000 Salvadorans and cost the lives of an estimated 80,000 people.

Cecilia Flores de Rivas is recognized by the highest authorities of the Catholic Church as the living miracle that allows the canonization of Archbishop Romero.

Click here for the full coverage including transcripts.

Climate Change, Disasters, Environment, News Highlights, Water/Agua





El Salvador está siendo influenciado por el huracán Michael, este martes 9 de octubre alcanzó la categoría 2, provocando lluvias copiosas, principalmente en la zona costera y región oriental del país. Situación que llevó a las autoridades de Protección Civil a decretar Alerta Amarilla en 31 municipios mayormente impactados y Alerta Verde a nivel nacional.

Las autoridades informan de tres personas fallecidas, 14 lesionadas, 28 carreteras dañadas, numerosos árboles derribados que han obstruido el tránsito peatonal y terrestre, 6 ríos desbordados, 57 deslizamientos de tierra, 427 viviendas inundadas y 719 personas albergadas, principalmente en los municipios de San Miguel y Joateca, del departamento de Morazán.

En los países vecinos también se reportan daños. Seis personas fallecieron en Honduras, cuatro en Nicaragua y en Guatemala un niño fue arrastrado por un río. Si bien la mayoría de las precipitaciones se atribuyen a un sistema de baja presión en la costa del Pacífico de El Salvador. La presencia del huracán Michael en el Caribe habría contribuido.

La reflexión que nos debe ocupar, es que este fenómeno meteorológico contrasta con la severa y prolongada sequía que ocasionó la pérdida de más de 80,000 manzanas cultivadas con maíz, con una cosecha proyectada de 4.1 millones de quintales; y es en la misma región oriental, en donde ahora llueve de forma cuantiosa, lo que nos llevar a afirmar que dicha situación es producto de los efectos del Cambio climático, que se acentúan con mayor intensidad en nuestro país.

Ante esta situación, el Movimiento de Víctimas, Afectados y Afectadas por el Cambio Climático y Corporaciones (MOVIAC) Comunica:

Reafirmamos que esto es una manifestación del cambio climático que ha venido afectando a nuestro país y a toda la región centroamericana durante los últimos años. Además, la proyección o escenario futuro está lleno de incertidumbre. La única certeza es que los impactos del cambio climático se van a profundizar, con un consecuente incremento de la pobreza, la migración y la violencia.

El Salvador es un país empobrecido con limitada capacidad para enfrentar estas dificultades, por lo que se vuelve aún más imprescindible que el Estado tome las medidas necesarias y oportunas para prevenir una crisis de mayores proporciones. Para lo cual el MOVIAC propone:

          a)    Que el Estado salvadoreño asuma el cambio climático y sus actuales y futuros impactos como eje transversal de todas las políticas públicas.

     b)    Que se ponga en marcha, con sentido de urgencia, una estrategia de sobrevivencia que incorpore medidas como: La protección de las zonas de recarga acuífera; la descontaminación y cuido de los cuerpos superficiales de agua dulce; la promoción de la agricultura sustentable; la protección de los pueblos originarios y de su cultura; la creación de reservas estratégicas de granos básicos, entre otras.

          c)    Que en los presupuestos de la nación se establezca una partida especial para que el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería cuente con recursos para finalizar y dar adecuado mantenimiento a las bordas, sistemas de drenaje y caminos internos de las cuencas bajas de los ríos: Lempa, Paz, Jiboa y Grande de San Miguel y demás obras de mitigación en otros zonas del país.

          d)    Que se evite la implementación de proyectos mineros, megaproyectos turísticos, e industria urbanística que provoque deforestación de las pocas áreas forestales que aún tiene el país, impedir los monocultivos de caña de azúcar, debido al excesivo uso de agro tóxicos, la creación de zonas económicas especiales, que contribuyen a incrementar la vulnerabilidad de los pueblos y de la región.

          e)    No asumir proyectos de falsas soluciones al cambio climático en el marco de las negociaciones a nivel mundial, así como proyectos REDD+, que son estrategias de engaños que utilizan las trasnacionales, por lo que se deben asumir medidas reales de adaptación y mitigación que contribuyan a restablecer el equilibro en la madre tierra.



San Salvador, 9 de octubre de 2018