CAFOD has worked in El Salvador since the 1970s. We focus on agriculture, promoting a culture of peace and justice and empowering women.
In the 1980s, there was a violent civil war in El Salvador. About 75,000 people, mainly civilians, were killed. The conflict had its roots in the inequality between peasant farmers and the tiny elite who dominated the country and owned the large coffee plantations.
The Catholic Church in El Salvador helped the peasant farmers who lived in appalling conditions. But as they started to claim their basic rights, they were violently repressed by the army.
CAFOD supported Archbishop Oscar Romero. He spoke out bravely against the poverty, injustice and military repression. He received death threats because he persisted in speaking up. He was murdered in 1980 by a death squad assassin.
The civil war ended in January 1992. Today El Salvador is a more democratic country. However, poverty and violence still make life very difficult. Many people feel their best chance is to migrate to find work or to flee the violence. The violence particularly affects young people and women. Farming communities are struggling to grow their crops on poor land. In recent years, their harvests have been affected by unpredictable or extreme weather. El Salvador is also at risk of earthquakes.
CAFOD in El Salvador
CAFOD has worked with local partners and communities in El Salvador since 1974. We are inspired by Archbishop Oscar Romero and his insistence on the need for peace, justice, equality, and respect for human rights. Together, we are supporting people to have the skills and opportunities to fulfil their potential.
- We help farming families like Edelmira’s to grow more and better crops, keep animals and save and earn more money.
- We fund health work in rural communities.
- We nurture peace and justice. Our local partners provide legal aid and help people to campaign for their rights. They provide counselling for people traumatised by violence. They offer workshops on respectful relationships at home and with neighbours.
- We help women know their rights, develop their self-esteem and become leaders in their communities.
I want to thank you in CAFOD. With God’s help, your support and our efforts, we will be able to work more with our chickens and improve our crops.
Support our work
Find out how you, your parish or your school can support people living in El Salvador today