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Welcome to Peace Corps - El Salvador!

The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in El Salvador in 1962 to work with the Agricultural Extension Service. El Salvador was among the first countries to receive Peace Corps Volunteers, and over the next 15 years, more than 1,500 Volunteers worked in more than 15 different sectors, serving primarily as counterparts to government agencies and offices.

In 1980 amid increasing violence prior to the civil war, Peace Corps suspended operations in El Salvador. The destruction of economic and social infrastructure during the civil war set El Salvador back to 1950s levels in most economic and social indicators, and in 1986, a major earthquake destroyed much of what the war did not, especially in the capital of San Salvador. Moreover, widespread migration that began during the civil war led to the breakdown of many social and family institutions, particularly affecting youth and the environment.

The government of El Salvador invited the Peace Corps to return to El Salvador in 1993 after the signing of the Peace Accords that ended the civil war. The Peace Corps Volunteers that were invited to restart the program were third-year transfers from neighboring Latin American countries, and they worked to increase the capacity of local people in several priority areas identified by the Salvadoran government. In 1994, Peace Corps El Salvador invited new two-year Volunteers to serve in the project areas of Water Sanitation and Health, Agroforestry and Soil Conservation, and Small Business Development, and Volunteers have been coming to El Salvador ever since.

As of December 2013, Peace Corps in El Salvador has three general projects implemented, as follows:

Community Organization and Economic Development (COED): Through the COED project, Peace Corps works with rural Salvadoran communities to help them enhance their quality of life using improved organizational skills and business practices.

Youth Development (YD): Through the YD project, Peace Corps seeks to assist in engaging rural Salvadoran youth and prepare them for their adult roles as healthy, productive, and active community members.

Peace Corps Reponse (PCR): In El Salvador, Peace Corps Response provides qualified professionals the opportunity to serve in rewarding, short-term assignments that support the COED and YD projects in areas including community development, economic development, education and youth development, environmental education and protection, tourism, and health.

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   El Salvador

  • OFFICIAL NAME – República de El Salvador
  • CAPITAL CITY – San Salvador
  • AREA (KM2) – 21,040 km2 (comparable to New Jersey)
  • POPULATION – 6.3 million
  • CURRENCY – U.S. dollar (since 2001)
  • GDP (PPP) – US$ 44.6 billion 
  • GDP (PPP), per capita – US$ 7,549 
  • Human development index (HDI) value – 0.68
  • TIME ZONE – Central Standard Time (UTC -6)