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Democracy and Governance


El Salvador has one of the highest levels of non- political violence in the world and one of the highest homicide rates in the Americas.  Crime and insecurity also negatively affect the legitimacy of the authority and institutions of the government. The limitations of the state to combat and prevent crime can erode the confidence of the people and can undermine good governance. Fundamental institutional weaknesses with regard to investigative and organizational capacity of key justice sector actors inhibit an effective, sustainable response to criminality and perpetuate an unfair justice system. Under the Partnership for Growth (PFG) agreement between El Salvador and the U.S., a jointly conducted economic analysis identified crime and insecurity as a major constraint to growth. 


The Under the PFG Joint Country Action Plan, USAID assistance to El Salvador focuses on strengthening the justice system, anti-corruption reforms, and public-private partnerships to prevent crime and violence. To accomplish this, USAID works with the justice sector to improve criminal procedures and investigation, strengthen the Government Ethics Tribunal to regulate and promote ethical conduct in the public sector, and expand crime prevention efforts at the community level by involving local governments and the private sector. Sustainable, successful reform of key justice institutions requires a holistic, comprehensive strategy applied across multiple institutions. USAID works with the Government of El Salvador (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 with the participation of local authorities, community and youth leaders, NGOs, and the private sector.  Also, USAID helps the GOES fight corruption through its Sub-Secretariat for Transparency. Priority is given to government accountability, openness, and citizen participation.

USAID assistance:

  • Helps professionalize justice sector institutions and improve criminal justice practices and procedures to make them more effective in combating crime and insecurity
  • Improves justice sector service delivery
  • Increases accountability and transparency in the justice sector by enhancing judicial oversight and investigative capabilities; supporting civil society; and strengthening crime observatories
  • Improves, establishes, and promotes good governance and anti-corruption practices within the government
  • Promotes and facilitates comprehensive civil service reform.
  • Develops innovative partnerships between the public and private sector to carry out community-based crime prevention programs
  • Supports municipal government crime prevention plans and initiatives.
  • Provides educational and economic opportunities for at-risk youth


Last updated: May 18, 2016

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