Municipalities are key elements of democratic practices and are called upon to assume the role of social and economic relations by allowing citizens to participate in decisions and exercise greater control over the daily lives. Our partners, CRIPDES and CORDES, work to facilitate communities’ involvement at the municipal level to allow citizenship to become a local force in politics. By working with community development councils (ADESCOS), CRIPDES and CORDES have built community-wide capacity to engage in their local development processes. In short, people themselves have identified and are now demanding, in an organized fashion, their communities' development needs - from new roads, to computer training, to greater gender equity.
Through the generous support of CIDA and other Canadian partners, the $565,000 three-year project has supported the grassroots development of local plans prioritizing community-identified needs. These plans were presented to the municipal governments in four rural communities, Tejutepeque, Tenancingo, Jutiapa, and Cinquera. To date, all four communities have developed plans and in two of them work is underway to ensure municipal government follow through.
This program is an example of a key component of SalvAide's approach - namely that without organized communities with capacity and strength to demand their rights, genuine sustainable development rooted in social justice cannot happen.
Chalatenango Free of Mining is a pilot project led by long-time SalvAide sister organization, CRIPDES, and its affiliate, CCR, in the Salvadoran province of Chalatenango in collaboration with the National Roundtable Against Mining in El Salvador to declare three municipalities affected by planned mining projects in the northern region of Chalatenango and mining activity across the border with Honduras as territories free of mining.
Through community organizing encompassing public education, participatory community consultations, lobbying local government, and approval of municipal bylaws that prohibit large-scale mining activities within municipal boundaries, this project intends to raise the capacity of local communities most impacted by existing and potential large-scale mining projects to collectively and effectively organize in defense of their land, water, and sovereignty to advocate for a national government ban on large-scale mining in El Salvador, to set the standard for a regional campaign to declare Chalatenango free of large-scale mining, and to inspire a national campaign declaring territories free of mining led by the National Roundtable Against Mining in El Salvador, La Mesa.