Full name: Republic of El Salvador
Population: 6.3 million (UN, 2012)
Capital: San Salvador
Area: 21,041 sq km (8,124 sq miles)
Major language: Spanish
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 68 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: US dollar & Salvadoran colon
Main exports: Offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity
GNI per capita: US $3,720 (World Bank, 2013)
Internet domain: .sv

International dialling code: +503

El Salvador is a small country in Central America that suffers from several large problems. Many of its problems today stem from a stark division of wealth between a rich and powerful elite and the majority of the population, who live in poverty. El Salvador suffered through years of bitter civil war in the 1980s, which still shapes the country today.

The country is also estremely vulnerable to  natural disasters, including earthquakers, hurricanes, flooding, landslides and volcanic eruptions, all of which can have a disproportionately large impact on communities with high levels of poverty. 

Former volunteers have been able to witness first-hand the country’s vulnerability to climate change and how it affects the livelihoods of many groups of people. The country is facing a situation of water scarcity even though there is a large amount of rainfall in the monsoon season. The ICS programme in El Salvador is always seeking to work alongside local people to help improve livelihoods that are also in jeopardy from by numerous other factors such as poverty, migration and violence. 

Previous ICS volunteers have participated in many activities in El Salvador including:

  • Environmental activities such as tree planting, creating seed banks and raising awareness of climate change through murals.
  • Supporting women's income generation projects and organic farming projects.
  • Supporting local community tourism projects.
  • Supporting greater awareness of recycling within local communities, and the creation of waste recycling and management centres.
  • Supporting local youth groups and young people to become more involved in community decision making.
  • Supporting artisans to create craft items using recycled materials
  • Providing communities with increased numbers of bins in order to reduce litter and promote safer and healthier waste management.
  • Improving facilities in local schools in areas at risk of landslides, to help ensure that play areas are safe for children.

Read more on Progressio's work in El Salvador - or browse through our stories from El Salvador

Find out more about what it's like to volunteer with Progressio ICS by reading our volunteers' blog

Don't forget every placement is different, to start your journey please complete the application form on the ICS website