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Democracy and Governance


El Salvador has one of the highest levels of non-political violence in the world and the highest homicide rate in the Americas. Crime and insecurity negatively affect the legitimacy of the government’s institutions and authority and it continues to be a major restraint to social development and economic growth. Fundamental institutional weaknesses within the justice sector inhibit an effective, sustainable response to criminality and perpetuate an unfair justice system. In addition, the limitations of the state to combat and prevent crime and a lack of public financial integrity can erode the confidence of the people. High migration rates continue to be a priority concern, the root causes of which need to be identified and addressed. In alignment with the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, USAID programs support specific actions targeting these issues agreed upon under the Alliance for Prosperity Plan (A4P), a joint regional plan created by El Salvador, Guatemala & Honduras with funding from the US & Interamerican Development Bank to enhance prosperity, security and governance in the Northern Triangle of Central America.


Under the A4P, in support of Plan El Salvador Seguro (PESS), USAID assistance to El Salvador focuses on strengthening the justice system, anti-corruption reforms, enhanced civil society oversight and public-private partnerships to prevent crime and violence. To accomplish this, USAID works with the justice sector to improve criminal procedures and investigation, promote human rights and strengthen the Government Ethics Tribunal. The Access to Public Information Law promotes transparency in government and engenders confidence in the people. USAID also helps the Government of El Salvador (GoES) fight corruption through its Sub-Secretariat for Transparency. USAID programs increase public awareness and oversight of justice sector reform by supporting citizen participation campaigns. USAID enhances citizen security by increasing public confidence in the ability of the police to reduce crime by providing specialized training to officers and by increasing police-community outreach activities to improve relationships.

Sustainable, successful reform of key justice institutions requires a holistic, comprehensive strategy applied across multiple institutions. USAID works with the GoES to professionalize and reform police, prosecutors, judges, and security personnel. To address violent crime and insecurity, USAID has expanded crime prevention activities to high-risk communities identified under PESS with the participation of local authorities, community and youth leaders, NGOs, and the private sector. USAID connects its crime prevention programs with education & workforce development opportunities. USAID supports the work of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with GoES migration and child protection authorities to provide specialized services to repatriated child migrants and to support efforts to prevent re-migration by using evidence-based analyses. 

USAID assistance:

  • Helps professionalize justice sector institutions and improve criminal justice practices, procedures and delivery to make them more effective in combating crime and insecurity
  • Increases accountability and transparency by enhancing judicial oversight and investigative capabilities and supporting civil society participation
  • Improves the public trust in government by strengthening justice sector programs to reduce impunity, promote transparency, enhance judicial reform & increase citizen participation and oversight
  • Supports municipal government crime prevention initiatives in high-risk communities & activities that provide alternatives for vulnerable youth by establishing safe and supervised community youth centers
  • Fosters innovative public-private sector partnerships to provide educational and economic opportunities for at-risk youth
  • Decreases re-migration from El Salvador by addressing root causes of irregular UAC emigration and by supporting GoES capacity to improve the in-processing and care of returned migrants


Justice Sector Strenghtening

Crime and Violence Prevention

Return and ReIntegration in the Northern Triangle




Education for Children and Youth at Risk

Bridges to Employment

Last updated: August 17, 2018

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