WASHINGTON, D.C., January 11, 2016 – The Peace Corps today announced the suspension of its program in El Salvador due to the ongoing security environment. The agency will continue to monitor the security situation in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador to determine when the program can resume.
The Peace Corps has enjoyed a long partnership with the government and people of El Salvador and is committed to resuming volunteers’ work there in a safe and secure environment.
Volunteers’ health, safety and security are the Peace Corps’ top priorities. More than 2,300 Peace Corps volunteers have worked on community and youth development projects in communities throughout El Salvador since the program was established in 1962.
In 1962 the government of El Salvador invited Peace Corps into the country, and in April of that year the first 20 Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in El Salvador arrived. By 1977, approximately 150 Peace Corps Volunteers were working in El Salvador in fourteen programs, but in 1980 after attacks against the Peace Corps office and its vehicles, operations were suspended. Approximately 13 years later, Peace Corps returned to El Salvador in June of 1993.
Peace Corps El Salvador (PCES) is currently home to approximately 60 Peace Corps Volunteers who serve for two years in one of two Peace Corps projects: Community Organization & Economic Development (COED) and Youth Development (YD). In addition, there are generally 10 to 15 Peace Corps Response Volunteers in country at any given time serving on shorter assignments that require more specific technical knowledge and experience.
In an effort to maintain the traditional modest separation between Peace Corps (a “people to people” program) and the policy-making agencies of the US Embassy while still affording both entities the opportunity for mutual support and involvement, PCES offices are located outside of the Embassy compound in a residential neighborhood of San Salvador. To provide additional support to Volunteers in their sites, PCES has established two regional offices in Chalatenango and in Morazán. PCES also carries out community-based training for new Volunteers in the Chalatenango area.