On 9 May, the Progressio programme in El Salvador participated in the Europe Day Cooperation Expo in the capital city of San Salvador, with the purpose of sharing information about the various development projects and initiatives that European Union countries contribute to in El Salvador.

Visitors to Progressio’s stand chatted with our country representative Carmen Medina (pictured above, on left), ICS Progressio programme officer Mario Guevara, development workers, and representatives from partner organisations such as Fundación para el Desarrollo Juvenil (Youth Development Foundation) and Contrasida (Against AIDS).

John Bayron OchoaProgressio development worker John Ochoa talking to a visitor to the Progressio stand

We also screened videos from Centro Bartolomé de las Casas, UNES (the Environmental Movement of El Salvador), Contrasida, and the media group of the “Gender strategies for HIV prevention” project, which is a collaboration of four Progressio development workers and four partner organisations, Flor de Piedra, Centro Bartolomé de las Casas, Contrasida, and Fundación por el Desarrollo Juvenil.

Visitors to the stand included a former Progressio development worker who had worked in El Salvador in the 1990s. The day also included a variety of cultural acts by Salvadoran youth cultural groups, including traditional dance, break dance, and theatre. One of these, the Contrasida youth theatre group Luz de Luna de San Salvador (Light of the Moon of San Salvador), presented their play “Jugando Reflejos” (Playing with reflections), in which they explore the themes of identity, aspirations, violence, and self-esteem.

El Salvador youth theatre group

Progressio development worker Maggie von Vogt commented: “I watched the dancers, actors, and actresses battle their nerves while also enjoying the limelight, and reflected on how, despite the many obstacles generated by violence, poverty, and gang activity, these different groups had clearly dedicated much time, care, and energy into their presentations.

“For me, the work that Progressio does to support these kind of initiatives is the most valuable part of what we do. The human relationships, which are hard to explain through a pamphlet, banner, or publication, to which we dedicate so much of our work and ourselves, are the core, and it is important to take the time to celebrate these initiatives.

“For Progressio’s El Salvador team, the Expo was a great opportunity to connect with each other as a team, as well as with other people committed to sustainable development in El Salvador.”

Photos © Mario Guevara/Progressio.