2015-2016: We raised $3000 to fund a community health project.
The communities in the areas Pastoral de la Salud has targeted face huge economic and social difficulties that directly affect the most vulnerable populations, especially children, young people, and women. Our project with Pastoral involved starting educational initiatives in two new communities: Santo Tomas and El Paisnal. Pastoral believes that community organization and training community leaders is an important pillar in the execution of work initiatives working towards bettering the quality of life of families with the ultimate goal of realizing the concept of health as “complete physical, mental, and social well being”.
An important component of this project was to establish strategic alliances, referring to coordination between other local actors that are already present in the municipalities such as Arcadias, Minister de Salud, NGOs, and community organizations.
In Santo Tomas, the project is targeted at students and women. The student initiative trained and educated 28 adolescents and the women's initiative trained 35 women in areas ranging from self-esteem to gender equality to HIV. These students served as leaders in their educational centers, and these women served as leaders in their communities.
In El Paisnal, Pastoral will be working with primarily young children and their mothers to establish good health practices, such as nutritional eating, mental health awareness, and playful activities. In addition, all the participating children will be enrolled in early health evaluations that will serve as a baseline for their future health.
We raised $7,000 to fund a chlid nutrition project.
In rural areas of El Salvador, 25% of children
younger than 5 years old suffer from chronic malnutrition. This is a problem
that carries significant and often irreversible consequences, and contributes
to lifelong illnesses and mortality rates. Children that suffer from
malnutrition in their first five years of life have limited growth, diminished
mental capacity, memory loss, poor muscle development, decreased height and
weight, and an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases. In young
adults, malnutrition causes diminished muscle growth, decreased height and
weight, decreases in mental capacity, and a major risk of contracting chronic
medical diseases in their adult years.
Pastoral de la Salud is attempting to address this problem by
ensuring that at risk populations are educated in nutrition, thus improving
their diets. The targeted populations for this project are children under five
years of age, pregnant women, and infants in rural areas of La Libertad, as the
risks of malnutrition are greatest within these groups. To improve nutrition in
this population, this project will provide education to the beneficiary
families on food and nutrition in order to implement healthy practices, monitor
the height and weight of children younger than five years old, and implement 10
IMPACT:Malnutrition is a huge problem in impoverished populations, and in
areas of El Salvador where rates of diseases like Dengue fever are high, it is
directly connected to mortality rates. This project hopes to address this both
directly, through the implementation of 10 family gardens and education that
will spread through these communities and have long-term effects. The heights
and weights of young children will also be monitored so that these problems can
be caught and hopefully addressed early by rural clinics. The results we hope
to see are a baseline of nutritional education at community level, families
with both greater access to nutritious foods and better habits surrounding
nutrition and feeding their children, and in the long-term better growth and
development in children younger than five years of age.
& Spring 2012: We raised $5000 to fund a food security and nutrition
is currently one of the biggest health problems in Cuscatlán; healthy and
plentiful food is hard to access. Due to increasing unemployment and low
salaries, many families do not have enough income to buy a sufficient weeks
shopping. Many families must travel long distances to reach adequate markets,
adding transportation costs in addition to the cost of food. There are also
various agricultural problems that inhibit food access. Many people lack the
understanding or the money to properly dispose of trash. Thus, trash is
everywhere, and it is contaminating the fertilizer. Another example Cojuape, a
community located next to a lake. Cojuape’s main source of income comes from
fishing, but the fish in the lake are running out. The fishermen cannot
even catch enough fish to pay for the ride to the market in
Cojutepeque. Private fishing farms are taking over the lake, and are
charging a small sum per day for other people to fish in their sectioned areas
– therefore families still do not make a profit from fishing.
Tilapia pond under construction
Additionally, El Salvador is mostly an importer of basic
agricultural products. Most fruits and vegetables come from Guatemala and
Honduras, and most cereals come from the US and Canada. Hybrid and GMO seeds
and chemical fertilizers are imported from the US and European companies, but
only at high prices determined by the international market. Pastoral has decided to respond to the malnutrition among El
Salvadoran communities. The goal of the project was two-fold:enable families to produce
their own food, andeducate communities on nutrition(with a focus on child nutrition).
Small Groups making the chicken feed
IMPACT: Pastoral de la Salud
worked with Pastoral de la Tierra (the agricultural sector of the Social
Ministry) to construct fish raising pools and chicken coops for families. The
families attended a series of workshops during which they learned how to manage
the fish/chickens, and will be checked on regularly to ensure success. Pastoral
also hosted education sessions on food groups, healthy recipes, how to keep a
vegetable garden, etc.
The GROW team this summer was fortunate enough to be involved in this process
first-hand. They helped construct a fish pond and attended one of the workshops
focused on designing chicken coops and making chicken feed. For more
information on these experiences, please read more on the GROW blog!
Spring 2011: We raised $3500 to fund a food store that will be run
by El Salvadorian youth
12 youth (ages 15-23) belong to a youth group that has been geared
towards human rights and community involvement. They participate in cleaning
campaigns and they organize events such as children’s day for their community,
Cerro Colorado. Many of these youth, however, need to work to help their
families out financially, but they cannot find jobs. Thus they decided to
create jobs for themselves and simultaneously help out their community. They
asked people in their community whether they would prefer an internet
cafe/bookstore or a general food store. The people chose a food store because
the current food stores in their community do not consistently have the food
they need. Thus people must travel around an hour to the closest big grocery
The youth’s store will be built on the main road of Cerro
Colorado. They will stock the store with the basic food necessities, and will
buy food wholesale so it is cheaper. The 12 youth will split up the hours and
the tasks of running a store.
IMPACT: This project will generate
income for these 12 youth and will provide their community with a reliable,
consistent, and good food quality store.
The youth group
Fall 2010: We raised $1500 to fund training sessions for 57
Community Health Workers
Pastoral holds bimonthly workshops that are designed to empower
and strengthen the capabilities of its community health workers, leading them
to become agents of change in their work areas.
The workshops will include both theoretical and practical
training, covering a range of topic that includes human right to health, food
security and nutrition, vulnerability to natural disasters, family medicine and
Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI).
IMPACT: This project will have a direct effect on the community by
empowering 57 health promoters who are the point of contact between Pastoral
and the population in the Cuscatlán area.