Two women wash vegetables in the community garden with a watering can
WFP USA/Charles Fromm
These women grow vegetables in a WFP-supported community garden in El Salvador.

The Situation

El Salvador is a middle-income country with 6.21 million inhabitants (52.3 percent women, 47.7 percent men) located in the Pacific coast of Central America. El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country of this region, with an average of 295 inhabitants per square kilometer.

In 2014, El Salvador experienced the negative impact of the coffee rust disease and a severe drought which affected over 30,000 families across the country.

Security has remained a major concern for authorities in 2014. Gangs—also known as maras—and organized crime concentrate their activities on narcotics, homicides, carjacking and extortion. El Salvador ranks fourth in list of countries with the highest homicide rate, as of 2012.

World Food Programme's Work

WFP’s program seeks to contribute in four areas:

  • Improving social protection schemes through food and nutrition based interventions: WFP seeks to provide nutrition education and complementary feeding to 20,000 children under two and 2,000 pregnant and lactating women. The actions are focused in 36 municipalities where 1 out of every 5 children does not consume enough food in quantity and quality.
  • Strengthening disaster risk mitigation and emergency response: WFP’s mechanism to provide support the Government of El Salvador in its efforts to attend to populations most affected by emergencies caused by floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and pests. At present, WFP is piloting the modality of cash and voucher transfers to support vulnerable rural families whose food security has been hampered by the impact of the coffee leaf rust on their livelihoods.
  • Strengthening small-scale agriculture and associated marked development: WFP is implementing initiatives to reduce the vulnerability to food insecurity of smallholder farmers of basic grains. WFP is strengthening their capacities to compete more fairly, increase their incomes, improve quality and local production toward greater food security for their families.
  • Building prosperity in violence-ridden communities: WFP is in a unique position to bridge efforts between the government, communities and civil society to increase the capacity of youth in violence-ridden areas to live healthy, productive lives. WFP
    draws from its extensive experience in social protection and training programs to help at-risk youth in greater San Salvador to pursue a one-year apprenticeship in a skilled trade of their choosing and to receive technical and practical, on-the-job training to learn a profession. To encourage enrollment and participation in the program, a conditional food voucher is supplied to participants. After undergoing training and gaining access to sustainable employment with a decent wage, at-risk youth are not as likely to join gangs or migrate to other countries to earn a living.

World Food Program USA has taken an active role in the at-risk youth program to combat violence. “El Salvador’s future depends on whether the country’s youth are able to choose a life of meaning over a life of violence,” says Rafael Ugarte, WFP USA Development Officer. “This program can be the concrete foundation and lifeline they need to transform their livelihoods moving forward.”

Support for El Salvador

Hundreds of thousands of families in El Salvador have been affected by severe food losses. WFP has been reaching families with food and voucher assistance enabling communities to enhance nutrition at home, and achieve self-reliance through training and education. For thousands of Salvadoran families, this is helping to change their lives.

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The Case for Support

El Salvador: Delivering Hope For the Future

Hundreds of thousands of families in El Salvador have been affected by severe food loss. WFP has been reaching families with food and voucher assistance, enabling communities to enhance nutrition at home and achieve self-reliance through training and education. This support helps change the lives of thousands of Salvadoran families.

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Articles About El Salvador

WFP/Gabriella Cladellas

José is thriving.

Saving and Changing Lives of Children in El Salvador

WFP/Gabriela Cladellas

Transforming a Child’s Fate in the First 1,000 Days

When recurrent droughts hit the Morazán, San Miguel and La Unión regions in El Salvador in 2015, tens of thousands of farmers watched their crops wither and die. Yet mothers…

Meghan Gannon

WFP/Claudia Rivera

The First 1,000 Days: Solving Malnutrition in El Salvador

How WFP’s head of nutrition in El Salvador, Elia Martinez, is helping build healthy families and communities

World food program usa

WFP/Charles Fromm

Pupusas and Paint: A Creative Path to Food Security in El Salvador

How the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the municipality of San Salvador are partnering to empower at-risk youth through street art in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods

Charles Fromm

Three men look at the camera, Carlos Sorriano in the center, with WFP bags behind them
WFP/Charles Fromm

The Art of Logistics: Going Behind the Scenes with WFP in El Salvador

How the world’s largest humanitarian agency is reaching the country’s most vulnerable communities

Charles Fromm

WFP/Tania Moreno

Preparing the Next Healthy Generation in El Salvador

With the help of the Astellas USA Foundation and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), 800 new mothers and young children in El Salvador will have the nutrition and education…

Ash Kosiewicz

Bringing Relief to Families in El Salvador

For the second year in a row, Central America has suffered a devastating drought that has pushed tens of thousands of people into hunger. Impoverished families in El Salvador have…

Reylaura Cantave

A Way Out: Combating Violence with Youth Employment in El Salvador

As security in Central America continues to deteriorate, a fundraising effort at World Food Program USA seeks to connect at-risk youth facing violence and food insecurity with an apprenticeship program…

Ash Kosiewicz

3 Refugee Crises You Might Not Know About

Driven by ongoing civil conflict and gang violence, refugee crises from Asia to Central America are increasingly drawing the world’s attention beyond ongoing conflict hotspots in the Middle East. With…

Ash Kosiewicz

Delivering Hope to El Salvador

Earlier this month, World Food Program USA announced the launch of a new campaign to build awareness and support in Washington, D.C. for the U.N. World Food Programme’s (WFP) work…

Andrew Williams

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