Having never volunteered abroad before I am really excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity, which could be life-changing. My time in El Salvador will give me a first-hand insight into the issues I have read about while studying for an MA in International Intervention at the University of Surrey.

I value the importance of making a genuine difference to the lives of the world's poorest and this experience will undoubtedly alter my outlook. I hope to develop new skills and to improve my Spanish, both of which will contribute towards building my own future.

The projects we will work on relate to the Millenium Development Goals, and in El Salvador we will focus on  Millennium Development Goal 5.B: Achieve universal access to reproductive health, through raising awareness of gender based violence and sexual and reproductive rights. 

In line with Progressio's belief in 'people powered development', we will work with two local partners in downtown San Salvador, IMU (Instituto de Investigacion, Capacitacion y Desarollo de la Mujer) and CBC (Centro Bartolomé de las Casas), to help deliver a peace and gender violence workshop, an advocacy arts festival, a street theatre event and three murals at a local college. The aim is to raise awareness of gender based violence in the historic district.

As one of the first groups to depart the UK as part of the ICS Empower scheme, I hope this blog will provide inspiration for others to follow in my footsteps and to take up what is likely to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience another culture first hand.

Follow Katherine's blog at http://progressioelsalvador.blogspot.com