El Salvador: Fighting climate change in everyday life | Global Ideas | DW | 01.12.2021

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Global Ideas

El Salvador: Fighting climate change in everyday life

Poverty and climate change weigh heavily on the lives of many people in El Salvador. Droughts, floods and storms frequently destroy livelihoods. The organization CESTA works to ensure a more sustainable future.

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El Salvador: Fighting climate change

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and has one of the highest population densities in the region, with more than 300 inhabitants per square kilometer. Alongside Guatemala and Honduras, it also ranks among the poorest countries in the Americas, according to the UN organization UNICEF. More than 40% of children in El Salvador live in poverty. 

Moreover, the country is suffering badly from the consequences of climate change: Drought and forest fires are destroying areas used for food production, while hurricanes and floods cause widespread devastation. Degraded soil and increasing urban sprawl pose a threat to water and food supplies.  

A woman stands in a corn and bean field on a hillside in the outskirts of El Salvador's capital, San Salvador

Verónica del Rosario Echegollen de Perez was trained as an organic farmer by CESTA

Ricardo Navarro's small non-governmental organization CESTA (Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology) has been fighting for decades for greater climate and environmental protection and a sustainable future in El Salvador. Thanks to the NGO's perseverance, various laws have been passed, such as a ban on further metal mining. 

A central point of CESTA's activities is teaching female smallholder farmers about organic farming and how to obtain seeds from local varieties. The women produce primarily for their own use and earn extra money by selling their surplus.  

Project goal: CESTA is one of the first small organizations worldwide to receive support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) to expand its climate commitment as part of the IKI Small Grants Program. One focus of the CESTA program is the support for women, especially through environmental education. In total, the IKI Small Grants program supports micro-projects for climate and nature conservation in 27 developing and emerging countries. 

Project partner: The IKI Small Grants program is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the BMU. 

Project duration: The project in El Salvador started in May 2021 and will run for two years.  

Budget: Total funding available for the IKI Small Grants projects amounts to €3 million.

A film by Carolina Chimoy

Ricardo Navarro, president of the NGO CESTA, stands next to a dead mangrove tree in El Salvador

Ricardo Navarro, founder of CESTA, has already made a big difference in the field of environmental protection in El Salvador

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