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Democracy and Governance


El Salvador has made significant democratic advances, including successive free and fair elections, accompanied by social and economic progress.  Despite these gains, insecurity from gang-related violence and lack of economic opportunity drive thousands of Salvadorans to attempt to illegally immigrate to the United States.

The Government of El Salvador is taking measures to address the problem through a security plan that includes social services, education and economic opportunities in targeted high-crime municipalities. The security plan demonstrates the Salvadoran government’s commitments under the Alliance for Prosperity, a plan by the three Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), to advance prosperity, security, and governance to reduce illegal immigration.

In alignment with the U.S. Strategy for Central America, USAID programs support the Alliance for Prosperity and El Salvador's Security Plan  to enhance prosperity, security and governance in El Salvador so that Salvadorans can build a better life at home.


USAID is confronting the underlying causes of violence to make communities safer and provide youth with alternatives to gangs and illegal immigration. USAID supports municipal crime prevention councils to create community outreach centers, reclaim public spaces, and expand after-school programs. Crime observatories that gather and analyze crime information are helping many of these municipalities to identify and address risk factors. USAID also partners with the government and private sector to increase educational opportunities for children and for out-of-school youth. In total, more than 140,000 youth in high crime municipalities are being reached through USAID activities. In addition, USAID supports the integration of law enforcement efforts with community-level prevention programs; and provides training and support to the Judiciary, Attorney General’s Office, the National Civil Police, and the Public Defender’s Office for an effective and independent justice system to protect human rights, reduce impunity, and build citizen trust. Together, these activities are helping to reduce crime and violence, a major cause of irregular migration. Between 2015 and 2017, El Salvador homicides dropped an average of 53 percent in the 50 municipalities under the Government of El Salvador’s Security Plan. Several municipalities with active USAID programs saw even higher declines. For example, in the municipality of Zacatecoluca, homicides dropped by over 66 percent from 2015 to 2017.   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:

  • Supports municipal government crime prevention initiatives in high-risk communities and activities that provide alternatives for vulnerable youth 
  • Helps professionalize justice sector institutions and improve criminal justice practices, procedures and delivery to make them more effective in combating crime and insecurity
  • Improves the public trust in government by strengthening justice sector programs to reduce impunity, promote transparency, enhance judicial reform and increase citizen participation and oversight
  • Fosters innovative public-private sector partnerships to provide educational and economic opportunities for at-risk youth
  • Decreases re-migration from El Salvador by improving the Salvadoran government's management of and services for 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: May 07, 2019

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