CARI - Central America Regional Initiative

Speeches Shim

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. USAID/OTI initiated the Central America Regional Initiative (CARI) to support U.S. government efforts to address the root causes of irregular migration in Central America. 



CARI 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, and 

  • Develop and test 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 complements USAID/El Salvador’s work in areas with the highest rates of irregular migration: San Salvador, Santa Ana, and San Miguel. The program seeks to build networks between and among civil society organizations and community-level actors, strengthen community resilience to crime and economic hardship, and pilot social behavior change strategies to mitigate gender-based violence in the public transportation sector. 

  • Guatemala: OTI complements USAID/Guatemala’s strategy to address the root causes of irregular migration from Guatemala’s Western Highlands - a primarily indigenous region where poverty, marginalization, and lack of opportunities drive high levels of out-migration. The program works with local partners to improve the agency of local groups to address community priorities, increase social cohesion, and strengthen cultural identity.

  • Honduras: OTI works with community-based organizations in high outward migration, high-violence communities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula to (i) improve community members’ confidence in collective community action to mitigate corruption and promote the delivery of transparent, inclusive, and quality services by municipal and state-level governments; and (ii) put a spotlight on gender-based violence to activate community-led prevention and response mechanisms to address incidents of violence.


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Last updated: July 28, 2022

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