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El Salvador - Overview

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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 irregular migration to the United States.

El Salvador is taking measures to advance prosperity, security, and governance to reduce irregular migration, which aligns with the U.S. Government’s foreign policy objectives, as outlined in the USAID Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) for El Salvador.


USAID addresses the drivers of irregular migration by working with the government and people of El Salvador for a country that is more prosperous, safe, and well governed so Salvadorans believe they can thrive at home. Security activities help create safe communities, reduce crime and violence, and strengthen the justice system. Through education, job training, and partnerships with business, USAID increases employment opportunities, particularly for youth, who, without alternatives, would be more likely to attempt to illegally immigrate. USAID improves government transparency and accountability and promotes citizen oversight of public resources to reduce corruption. Our work helps Salvadorans envision a brighter future in El Salvador


USAID targets urban areas with high crime rates, where people are more likely to attempt to migrate, with programs that prevent crime, provide protection for crime victims and other vulnerable populations, and improve the criminal justice system.  USAID supports the government and targets communities to develop and implement national and local violence prevention policies and programs.  To protect vulnerable populations and victims, USAID increases access to services for victims and helps strengthen measures to prevent human rights abuses by law enforcement entities.  USAID helps strengthen the justice system to detect, investigate, and prosecute violent crimes and corruption, placing particular emphasis on support services for crime victims.  Finally, USAID addresses cycles of violence by increasing trauma prevention and response systems.


Along with violence, lack of economic opportunities and a path to long-term prosperity in El Salvador fuels irregular migration.  USAID facilitates job creation and placement for likely migrants, and addresses key barriers to trade, investment, and access to capital to mobilize Salvadoran and international private sector investment in key sectors.  USAID is helping Salvadoran small businesses to grow and create new jobs, so that people can find dependable, good-paying work at home.  Boosting trade is another way to increase incomes and jobs.  USAID works with Salvadoran authorities to streamline and improve border management and customs procedures.  Job training programs align workforce skills with productive sector needs.  These activities target people that are most likely to attempt irregular migration, giving them a career path and placing them in jobs.  Support for quality education at the primary and secondary level and alternative education programs, improves school retention and prepares youth for future employment. 


USAID promotes greater transparency, accountability and more responsive governance to improve citizens’ confidence in both national and municipal level government.  At the national level, USAID supports transparent public financial management and anti-corruption systems to boost the government’s ability to generate and effectively utilize its own resources to support development.  USAID also helps create vibrant, prosperous neighborhoods by reclaiming and revitalizing public spaces and works with municipal governments to increase accountability and transparency and improve basic services to encourage people to remain in their community.  Activities help enhance citizen oversight and advocacy to advance government accountability and transparency.

Last updated: February 03, 2022

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