El Salvador: Building social capital to reduce violence: A new transition in El Salvador


El Salvador has the highest levels of violence in all of Latin America. It has a homicide rate of almost 70 per 100,000 inhabitants and alarming rates of other kinds of violence, all of which impede the consolidation of democratic government, human development and the achievement of the MDGs.

Violence has negatively impacted the population’s quality of life, deteriorating the social fabric and incurring high human and economic costs. This initiative worked to build consensus and strengthen state capacities for the prevention and reduction of armed violence, benefiting institutions at the national level and locally in the Metropolitan Area of San Salvador.

The programme's aim was to involve all stakeholders -- and particularly youth and women -- in the design and implementation of violence prevention and citizen security plans, reclaiming public spaces as places of coexistence and increasing youth development capacities.

Some of the achievements of the programme were:
  • Approval of a strategic plan for the national policy of security and peaceful coexistence.
  • Approval of a ban on weapons in public spaces in San Salvador and 26 other municipalities.
  • Technical assistance and support for the publication and dissemination of the National Policy on Justice and Public Safety, promoting a human rights approach to public safety and the prevention of violence and building social peace.
  • Support for the creation of the National Information System and subsystem on violence against women, as well as municipal agreements to institutionalize the Municipal Plan for Coexistence, Mediation and Security, which contributed to the establishment of national information systems and local mechanisms to identify, detect and prevent public violence, especially violence against women, in the context of building social peace.
  • Development opportunities for young people at risk, such as providing seed capital to 35 groups of entrepreneurs and the implementation of a program to integrate young people at risk through scholarships and job placement activities, with particular attention to women.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in El Salvador (in Spanish).


The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 27 Jul 2009 - 28 Jun 2013
Net funded amount $8,500,000
Participating UN agencies ILO, PAHO / WHO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF
National partners Consejo Nacional de la Juventud (antes,Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Pública), Ministerio de Justicia y Seguridad Pública, Alcaldía Municipal de San Salvador
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