CARI - Central America Regional Initiative

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Map of Guatemala, Honduras & El Salvador

Increasing community resilience in the face of significant poverty, violence, poor governance, corruption, and climate change, all of which contribute to irregular migration


Persistent instability and insecurity in Central America have a significant and direct impact on U.S. national security interests. Far too many Central Americans, particularly in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, suffer from crime, corruption, gang activity, and lack of opportunities, which compel them to migrate. The February 2021 Executive Order on Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, to Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border lays out a comprehensive approach to managing irregular migration flows consistent with U.S. values. As the United States’ lead development Agency, USAID provides assistance to promote economic growth; improve security; support democracy, human rights, and good governance; and increase community resilience, to increase hope and opportunity so people can confidently build their lives at home.


The three-year Central America Regional Initiative (CARI) program supports local partners in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to increase community resilience in the face of significant poverty, violence, poor governance, corruption, and climate change, all of which contribute to irregular migration. The program develops and tests new approaches to strengthen the systems, social networks, behaviors, and perceptions that foster a sense of rootedness and hope for the future in communities with high out-migration rates. OTI works in close coordination with other USG agencies and programmatic objectives will evolve accordingly. 


  • El Salvador: OTI will complement USAID/El Salvador’s work in areas with the highest rates of irregular migration: San Salvador, Santa Ana, and San Miguel. Initially, the program will explore implementing interventions to mitigate crime and violence in the public transportation sector, improve security in public spaces, and pilot new ways to strengthen community resilience to crime and economic hardship. 

  • Guatemala: OTI’s program will initially focus on the Western Highlands, a region of high migration rates, as a complement to USAID/Guatemala’s strategy to address root causes of irregular migration. The program will likely focus on small infrastructure activities, needed services, and activities aligned with USAID/Guatemala's Indigenous Peoples' Engagement Strategy.

  • Honduras: OTI will complement USAID/Honduras’ work to strengthen rootedness in key geographic areas. Initial programming may include piloting anti-corruption initiatives at the community level and with the private sector; implementing interventions to improve citizen security; and helping combat disinformation that supports irregular migration. 

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Last updated: January 11, 2022

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