Looking back on 2022

2022 is coming to an end and it is time to deliver our annual newsletter; reported for transparency and because we are excited to share with you what we have achieved.

* OPEN https://bit.ly/3WyfXic to read on because “Solidarity Matters”

U.S. Relations, Voices Developments, women & girls, Womens issues


To our DMV friends of Voices on the Border
 You’re invited to a BBQ 
in Hyattsvill, Maryland, October 15 at 3PM

🎟️ $20 per plate  | Let us know if you can make it by sending us an email or giving us a call at (202) 503–9230. We hope to see you!

*If you can’t make it but would like to make donation, visit our secure site at www.votb.org/donate

U.S. Relations, Voices Developments, women & girls, Womens issues


To our dear Bay Area friends of Voices on the Border

 You’re invited 
 to a House Party in Oakland, Friday October 7, 7pm – 9pm!

Please join us for an informal gathering with Bay Area friends of El Salvador. It will be an opportunity to hear updates about work in the communities in Usulutan and Morazan and to meet Jose Acosta, Executive Director of Voices on the Border. Pupusas, tamales and drinks starting at 7pm.  

Please let us know if you can attend and we’ll email you the address and directions to the location, near Lake Merritt in Oakland. Or give us a call at (510) 292-0537.

We hope to see you! *If you can’t make it but would like to make donation, visit our secure site at www.votb.org/donate

events, human rights, News Highlights, solidarity, Virtual Forum, women & girls, Womens issues

🎙️Grassroots Feminism in El Salvador – A Virtual Forum Invite

Prevention, Attention and Activism:
Grassroots Feminism in El Salvador

SEPTEMBER 29  |  7PM (El Salvador) 
     Join us this week for a conversation with the Morazán Women’s Network, a regionally and internationally recognized organization for its impeccable work to promote equality and eliminate discrimination and violence against women in their region and beyond.

~ Prevention 
The work The Network is doing around youth development, drawing on both the ECHO model and popular education, to increase self-esteem and self-worth while preparing these young women to identify, confront and reject gender-based violence.

~ Attention
The work The Network is doing in the area of comprehensive accompaniment of victims and their families, with special attention to trauma-informed care programs and their real-life impacts.

~ Activism
The work The Network is doing in the area of providing legal aid, legal advocacy, and victim’s rights activism as well as the current reality of justice and the hopes for the future.
You can join Thursday’s conversation via Zoom by pre-registering for an access code @ bit.ly/3cZAbQl or watch it live on Facebook.
Melida Avila – Vice President; Social Work and Healing
Idalia Claros – Secretary; Advocacy and Victim’s Accompaniment
Martiza Argueta – Treasurer; Sex-Ed and Youth Development

Simultaneous english interpretation will be available via the Zoom meeting.
A recording of the event will be made available.
Sexual and Reproductive Health, Voices Developments, women & girls, Womens issues, Youth Development

Las Jóvenes que Trabajan para Empoderar su Futuro

Así es como se ve cuando las personas dedicadas pueden realizar sus propias soluciones a los problemas que enfrentan.

Aquí en el video, la Red Ciudadana de Mujeres de Morazán se puede ver desafiando la barrera de obstáculos multifacéticos, que impiden que muchas jóvenes se conozcan a sí mismas, sus derechos y el potencial de sus proyectos de vida, creando redes de líderes, capacitadas en materia que francamente pueden salvar vidas.

Para VOCES, es un honor hacer todo lo posible para continuar apoyando las iniciativas de La Red.

* In English: Young Women Working to Empower Their Future

“This is what it looks like when dedicated people can come up with their own solutions to the problems they face. / Here in the video, the Morazán Women’s Citizen Network can be seen challenging the wall of multifaceted obstacles, which prevent many young women from knowing themselves, their rights and the potential of their life projects, by creating networks of leaders, trained in matters that frankly can save lives. / It is an honor to do everything possible to continue supporting La Red’s initiatives.”

annual report, Community News, education, Environment, Food Security, Historical Memory, News Highlights, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Voices Developments, Womens issues

Introducing our 2020 Annual Work Report

2020 has been a whirlwind year and we want to share it with you.

Click Here or below to read our latest annual report.

2020 VOTB Annual Work Report
human rights, News Highlights, Sexual and Reproductive Health, women & girls, Womens issues

Marchando por los Derechos y Vidas de las Mujeres y las Niñas

Nos unimos a la Red de Mujeres de Morazán, grupos de jóvenes y otras organizaciones solidarias para conmemorar el Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra las Mujeres y Niñas y exigir justicia para las innumerables víctimas de violencia de género a nivel individual, comunitario, estatal y nacional en El Salvador.

Marching for the Rights and Lives of Women and Girls

We joined the Women’s network of Morazan, Youth groups  and other solidarity organizations to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and to demand justice for the countless victims of gender violence at an individual, community, state and national level in El Salvador. 

Follow ‘La Red’ on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/rcdmm.morazan.7

COVID 19, Economy, Womens issues

How COVID19 is Affecting Rural Women in Morazán (Pt.1)

Author: Evelin Romero
Human rights activist for women based in Morazán

~Español abajo

The COVID19 pandemic is deepening the economic, social and political crises in the world, but the impacts are especially pronounced among the impoverished peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In El Salvador, like other catastrophes that have occurred throughout history, COVID19 exacerbates high poverty rates, especially in rural areas where populations have been historically excluded from public policies.

In departments such as Ahuachapán, Cabañas and Morazán, the greatest affects of poverty fall more severely upon women, to whom the patriarchal system has erroneously assigned the main responsibility for family care; from reproductive tasks to productive work, all without financial remuneration.

Morazán unfortunately is a living example of this reality.

Due to the highly restrictive measures placed by the governemnt to deal with the pandemic, women are experiencing serious negative economic and social impacts.

Consequently, the responsibility to care for one’s family during this uncertain time is also generating adverse emotional responses.

Specifically speaking, this compulsory home quarantine has made it impossible for many women to carry out productive activities such as street vending or domestic work for other families. Aggravating the situation is the suspension of remittances, due to loss of employment of family members living in the United States.

On the other hand, some women who dedicate themselves to professions such as making clothing or cosmetology, have also been affected by the suspension of parties, graduations and other types of social events.

As expected, the lack of income leads to food shortages and the deterioration of health, affecting the immune system, especially in children and older adults. Although women have invested their few savings to cope with the crisis, this has not been enough as the pandemic is expected to worsen.

On top of this, social distancing measures are making it impossible for organized women in associations, cooperatives and savings groups to come together to socialize, share concerns, exchange ideas and find collective ways to face their reality.

Additionally, there is the difficult task of accompanying the education of school-aged children, considering that face-to-face classes are suspended and students must work via home guides, a task that can many times only be accomplished with the help of their parents and/or guardians. The situation is complicated in households that do not have internet access or with guardians who barely know how to read and write, as is the case in most rural families in Morazán.

Despite all these difficulties, the fighting spirit of these women hasn’t been defeated. Especially those women who are part of the Morazán Women’s Citizen Network. The network has found creative ways to maintain communication among themselves, to experience solidarity and to strengthen the accompaniment of those who face increased domestic violence.

We hope that from the present crisis we will draw renewed energy in order to create new relationships between us humans, new relationships with planet Earth and new alternatives for sustainable living.

IMG-20200508-WA0015Cómo COVID19 está Afectando a las Mujeres Rurales en Morazán (Pt.1)

Autora: Evelin Romero
Activista de derechos humanos para mujeres en Morazán


La pandemia del COVID19 está profundizando las crisis económicas, sociales y políticas en el mundo, pero sobre todo en los pueblos empobrecidos de América Latina y el Caribe.

En El Salvador, al igual que otras catástrofes ocurridas a lo largo de la historia, el covid19 pone al descubierto los altos índices de pobreza, de manera especial en las zonas rurales que han sido las poblaciones más excluidas de las políticas públicas.

En departamentos como Ahuachapán, Cabañas y Morazán, las mayores afectaciones de la pobreza, recaen con más severidad en las mujeres, a quienes erróneamente el sistema patriarcal les ha asignado la responsabilidad principal de los cuidados de la familia; desde las tareas reproductivas, hasta el trabajo productivo, sin remuneración económica.

Morazán, lamentablemente, es un ejemplo vivo de esta realidad.

Durante el tiempo transcurrido con medidas para enfrentar la pandemia, las mujeres están experimentando graves impactos económicos y sociales. En consecuencia, también les genera un impacto emocional sentir la responsabilidad del cuidado familiar.

Concretamente la cuarentena domiciliar obligatoria ha imposibilitado a muchas mujeres a realizar actividades productivas como ventas ambulantes u oficios domésticos para otras familias, agravando la situación está el hecho de la suspensión de remesas, por pérdida de empleo de familiares que viven en los Estados Unidos. Por otra parte, algunas mujeres que se dedican a profesiones como la confección de ropa o la cosmetología, se han visto afectadas con la suspensión de fiestas, graduaciones y otro tipo de eventos sociales.

Como es de suponer, la falta de ingresos genera escasez de alimentos y deterioro de la salud con afectaciones al sistema inmunológico, especial en la niñez y adultos mayores. Aunque las mujeres han invertido sus pocos ahorros para sobrellevar la crisis, esto no ha sido suficiente y se prevé que los problemas van a continuar.

Por otra parte, las medidas de distanciamiento social están imposibilitando que las mujeres organizadas en asociaciones, cooperativas y colectivos de ahorro, se puedan reunir para socializar sus preocupaciones, intercambiar ideas y encontrar formas colectivas de enfrentar su realidad.

Adicionalmente, está la difícil tarea de acompañar la educación de sus hijos e hijas, considerando que las clases presenciales están suspendidas y los estudiantes deben responder guías de trabajo en sus casas, tarea que solo pueden lograr con la ayuda de sus padres. La situación se complica en los hogares que no cuentan con acceso a internet o que los padres apenas saben leer y escribir, como suceden en la generalidad de las familias rurales de Morazán.

Pero todas estas dificultades no han doblegado el espíritu luchador de muchas mujeres, sobre todo aquellas que forman parte de la Red Ciudadana de Mujeres de Morazán, quienes han sabido encontrar formas creativas para mantener la comunicación entre ellas, para vivenciar la solidaridad y para fortalecer el acompañamiento a quienes enfrentan violencia intrafamiliar.

Tenemos la esperanza que de la presente crisis sacaremos energías renovadas para construir nuevas relaciones entre los seres humanos, nuevas relaciones con el planeta Tierra y nuevas alternativas de vida sostenible.

education, Public Health, Voices Developments, Womens issues, Youth Development

Our Note on the COVID19 Situation El Salvador

Download the PDF letter


March 19, 2020

Dear Friend,

El Salvador, like many countries around the world, is reeling from the effects of COVID19. To clamp down on the spread of the virus, on March 15th, the government declared a state of emergency and approved a partial suspension of constitutional rights. What does that look like?

  • Foreigners are prohibited from entering the country by land, air or sea. All who enter illegally or legally are subject to a mandatory quarantine in a government run facility.
  • All educational activities are suspended, private and public.
  • Crowd sizes exceeding fifty people, such as concerts or sporting events are canceled.
  • All bars, cafes and discos are closed; restaurants can only offer delivery or take out.
  • Trade will continue normally. Commercial activities will remain unchanged, including imports and exports, under the proper sanitary control at customs.
  • People are told to shelter in place and only venture out if truly necessary.

On March 18th, El Salvador registered it’s first single confirmed case of the virus, from a Salvadoran returning from Italy, who defied the barrier the President put in place around the perimeter of the country. Because of citizen denouncements, he was picked up and tested positive for the virus and subsequently the entire municipality of Metapan, in the department of Santa Ana has been cordoned off for the next 48 hours in an effort to find his line of infection.

Impacts on the Salvadoran Society
The majority of the population has reacted with panic, no matter how many calls for calm are made. Supermarkets are crowded and supplies are beginning to become scarce, partly because there is hoarding and price inflations. For example in some places bottled water is selling for three times its normal price.

Bukele has said that the department of labor will do what it can to make sure employers and workers are economically supported during the quarantine, but every hour labor abuses are being called out via social media of workers being indiscriminately laid, off, mistreated or made to work when they aren’t supposed to.
The sectors most economically impacted by this national quarantine are the service industry, domestic workers, day laborers, street vendors, factory and sweatshop workers. Also affected are those Salvadoran families who already live in El Salvador’s precarious situation of water shortage. For young girls and women who face abuse at home, the situation of isolation becomes even more serious. It encourages victim control and greater submission of the victim.

Impacts on VOICES’ work
VOICES, like other NGOs, is having to adapt to these measures. For example, this situation forced us to cancel the annual South Bay Sanctuary Covenant delegation this March, as well as suspend the special delegation of teachers from Amando López to the United States in April.
Likewise, the SBSC fundraising event scheduled for April 26 in California, at which our director was to speak, was canceled.

Also with the suspension of classes the reproduction phase of the ECHO project workshops in Morazán is on hold; likewise, some community activities, workshops and meetings.

It’s safe to say that human rights don’t simply go away because of a national quarantine, and neither will VOICES’ commitment to accompanying our local partners as best as we can. As an organization, VOICES’ staff are adhering to the rules put in place by working from home.
This involves catching up on programming materials and fine tuning our evaluation frameworks, but we are also finding other ways to support our partners in the following ways:

Women’s Network of Morazán (9 municipalities served)
– Providing 15 canasta basicas for the Network’s most vulnerable members and their families.

Amando Lopez grade school (9 communities served)
– While some students may enjoy the meal provided by the school, other families may see it as a lifeline. The school’s staff compiled a list of 88 students who are most at risk from malnutrition and we will work with them to find the best way to help feed these kids during the quarantine.

Youth Development Association of Morazán (3 communities served)
– This inspiring youth group has had to cancel all of their programming including their special activities, community events, workshops and schools like their school of nutrition, which not only serves as a means to teach recipes, but also supports families’ ability to practice food sovereignty through the family farms component. We will work with AJUDEM to ensure that those most affected will have access to plants, seeds and compost to keep their farms growing.

El Salvador is a resilient country full of ingenuity and as long as we continue to practice true solidarity, we will all be able to come out of this pandemic with heads high and the prospect for a brighter more sustainable future.



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