CRS in El Salvador

Back to back Hurricanes Eta and Iota slammed into Central America, battering communities with powerful winds. The hurricanes have hit Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico, causing devastation and loss for the entire region. Catholic Relief Services is on the ground, providing lifesaving assistance. Your gift today will support critical relief.



Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS
Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS


El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. With a population of just over 6 million, it is also considered the most industrialized country in Central America. However, its people continue to face serious challenges.

An estimated 1 in 5 El Salvadorans have emigrated. The income inequality between rural and urban areas is severe. Additionally, low economic growth and high levels of violence and insecurity continue to affect Salvadoran society in profound ways.

The country is the second most deforested in the Western Hemisphere. Environmental degradation and global climate change make the country highly susceptible to natural disasters.

Despite trying circumstances, Catholic Relief Services’ reach is widespread. CRS and local partners work with families to improve farming systems and futures. The organization helps youth build job and life skills. CRS teaches peace and works for reconciliation in communities hurt by violence. But this work cannot be done without you.

When you donate to CRS, you do it all. You help families prepare for natural disasters, feed their families and protect the earth. You give young people an education and job training. You work to heal communities seemingly broken by violence and tension, and give them a way to build savings.

In El Salvador, CRS’ work focuses on several areas, including disaster response, agriculture, youth, peacebuilding and microfinance.

CRS’ work in agriculture goes beyond growing more crops. Along with crop diversification, the organization promotes soil and water conservation, reforestation, and expanded access to markets. CRS introduces practices that make farming more environmentally friendly and sustainable, even during extended dry or rainy periods.

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS
Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

With the support of USAID, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, CRS has recently begun an initiative to reintroduce the pre-colonial crop, cacao, in El Salvador. When grown within a diversified system, cacao generates economic opportunity to family farmers while rehabilitating their often severely degraded soils. CRS is working with farmers to develop a value chain that extends from the production of cacao through its transformation to the sale of quality chocolate.

With partners, CRS addresses three key problems the country faces: youth unemployment and inactivity; high levels of violence in which young people are both victims and perpetrators of violence; and the creation of alternatives to migration for young people.

Through its YouthBuild project, CRS has provided vocational and entrepreneurial training, job-placement support, life skills and leadership development, and community service opportunities.

CRS promotes peacebuilding in El Salvador through its youth violence prevention programs. CRS and our local partners help marginalized youth participate in civic and economic life in El Salvador through skill-building workshops and community service programs. One result is increased trust and reconciliation between youth and their communities.

With Caritas, we help form community savings groups in the poorest regions of the country. The groups target all members of the community—youth, women, men—and provide them a safe and self-managed way to build community savings and access to credit.

Resilience. Impact. Dedication. You. CRS’ work in El Salvador is just one example where your presence makes a world of difference.

Thank you!



People served: 139,036

Population: 6,187,271

Size: 8,124 sq. mi.; slightly smaller than Massachusetts

CRS' History in El Salvador

CRS' first activity in El Salvador was a food program in 1960. We’re now heavily involved in helping Salvadorans to grow their own food. We also serve by delivering emergency aid, carrying out integrated development projects, and promoting charity, justice and solidarity.

Since its inception, CRS El Salvador has carried out emergency response and reconstruction efforts to assist Salvadorans affected by the civil war and numerous natural disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes and tropical storms. We also help communities to prevent and mitigate loss from natural disasters.  

Since the 1992 peace accords ended 12 years of civil war, CRS El Salvador—in collaboration with our local partners—has implemented development projects in agriculture and environment, health, HIV and AIDS, microfinance, peacebuilding and civil society.