Past Projects

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. 

2012-2013: 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 family gardens.

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. 

Fall & Spring 2012: We raised $5000 to fund a food security and nutrition project
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 foodand educate 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 store.

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.
Training session on food security