We at Voices on the Border have been blogging about current events in El Salvador for over 2 years. With a strong network of partners throughout the country, we hear interesting news and analysis that we like to share with our friends in the international community.
A few weeks ago, for example, we posted about a group of soldiers that killed two Salvadorans in a shooting that took place across the border in Honduras. The media reported that the shooting took place in El Salvador, but our friends from Morazán who witnessed the shooting told a much different story – and they asked that we write up their account.
Our readership has grown over the past couple years to include subscribers from across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Central America. Blogging, however, is only a small part of what we do, and we want to take a moment to talk about who we are and what we’re up to this year. We also want to announce a matching grant opportunity for new donors that will last through the end of March – a generous donor is matching the first $2000 that we raise through the end of March! Please, keep reading about what we’re up to this year and help us reach our goal of $2000.
Voices on the Border is a US-based nonprofit organization that promotes just and sustainable development in El Salvador. We work through partner communities in Morazán and the Lower Lempa region of Jiquilisco, Usulután, and numerous other partners in U.S. cities such as Charlotte NC, Buffalo NY, Erie PA, the South San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California, and others. We also partner with Gannon University, the University of New Mexico, George Washington University, and other academic institutions. Some of our partnerships date back to the refugee camps in Colomoncagua, Honduras where we provided material and political support for those escaping the country’s brutal, 12-year civil war.
This year we have a variety of activities planned with our partners, including the following:
Amando Lopez Forest Preserve: The community of Amando Lopez in the Lower Lempa of Jiquilisco, Usulután has a section of forest that is threatened by loggers and farmers. This forest is unique for its biodiversity and location along the Lempa River. We are helping the community board secure protective status for the forest and develop a forest management plan. With a grant from the Flora Family Foundation, in 2011 we will help the community develop the organizational capacity to manage and protect the forest.
ASPS Health Promoters: With South Bay Sanctuary Covenant and Horizons of Friendship, we fund several ASPS health promoters in the Lower Lempa in Ciudad Romero, Angela Montano and Comunidad Octavio Ortiz. The health promoters coordinate with the government-run clinics and provide health education, organize health committees, and participate in a variety of advocacy campaigns.
Rescue Squad Training – Along with the George Washington University Institute of Emergency Medicine, we are providing a series of trainings that will improve the ability of civil protection teams in the Lower Lempa to prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies. Communities in the region are subject to annual floods, as well as earthquakes and other emergencies.
Reproductive Health Education: We are partnering with students from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine to improve access to reproductive and sexual health education in the Lower Lempa. The UNM medical students are coordinating with the ASPS health promoters, local schools, and others to empower youth with the information they need to better protect their reproductive health.
Comunidad Octavio Ortiz (C.O.O) Irrigation Project: With funding from the South Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Voices’ staff and the community board are helping farmers in C.O.O. develop and install the irrigation systems they need to produce corn and other crops in the dry season. After near total crop loss in 2010, irrigation systems will help reduce the vulnerability they have faced from floods and drought.
Women’s Communal Association of Morazán: We are identifying new ways to strengthen our relationship with the Community Association of Women from Morazán, which is a 150-member not-for-profit organization that serves Perquin, San Fernando, Torola, Jocoaitique, and Arambala. They offer legal advice and mental health services, work against domestic violence and child abandonment, support the development of small businesses and provide help with agricultural diversification. Voices looks forward to continuing our work with this great organization.
These are only a few of the activities that we will be working on this year. If you are already one of our partners, we are grateful for your continued support.
If you follow our blog, but have not otherwise become involved, now is a great time to start. A generous donor is matching all gifts made by first-time donors, up to $2000 between now and the end of March! The money we raise will go directly to making these projects possible. Click here to donate!