How we can help from the United States: (53825.41 Raised for Santiago Texacuangos) Donations to Friends of
Santa Maria are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Past Projects

Here is a list of past projects (under construction)

Emerging Technologies and Disaster Response: Using Crowdsourcing to Connect Survivors to Emergency Resources

According to the Red Cross, natural disasters have increased exponentially since 1960 and have impacted inhabitants on every continent. In the decade between 1994 and 2003, over 2.6 billion people were affected by a natural or technological disaster
and more than 600,000 died.  More recently, SwissRE (2011) found that 2010 had the second highest number of disasters since 1880.  However, deaths were far from diversified.  Low human development countries had a seven times higher mortality rate than highly developed countries and the number of reported disasters is rising most dramatically in the low and middle human development countries (Red Cross 2004).  In addition, due to inadequate response capabilities, lives that may have been saved post- disaster are often lost.     Evidence from recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan has illustrated that cell phones become a critical venue for communication.
It is at the cross-section of disaster emergency relief and available short message service (SMS) technology that a theoretically engaging and potentially life-saving study emerges.  I will conduct an investigation into how cell phones and new technological platforms based on Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) can be utilized to gain immediate life-saving information for
disaster survivors.  The project, modeled after the Red Cross post-disaster effort in Haiti (CDCC 2011), is aimed at creating a relief platform to which survivors could text a message (e.g. food, clinic, shelter, or volunteer) and receive instantaneous survival
information.  Additionally, the platform could map and match needs and abilities increasing the organization and efficiency of the relief effort as well as enabling people to come together for mutual support. 

The study is simple in design.  In collaboration with Fulbright Fellows Kara Andrade, who studies technology in Guatemala, Beth Tellman, who is currently living and working in a post-disaster community in El Salvador, and with the Harvard
Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), we will create a feasibility and assessment pilot project in which we design, implement and then study how this technology can be utilized at this scale.  With the help of HHI, Kara will design and build the necessary platform for our project which can be remotely accessed.  CEIBA will then work with 30 community members and engage a randomly-timed
mock disaster situation.  Afterward, we will debrief the experience as a large group.  CEIBA will be monitoring all project aspects and will follow up the experience with two focus groups, a short survey, and in-depth participant interviews.  Finally, we will run diagnostics on cell phone usage and the communication platform.  Our goal is to understand the social barriers and social
cohesion associated with the use of this technology based on demographics (gender, age, education, and wealth)

Objective: Install a disaster relief and response communication center of operations for the Municipal Comission of Civil Protection of Santiago Texacuangos to facilitate communications between local government response and communities for early warning and disaster reponse.

Target Communities: Santa Maria de la Esperanza, Los Planes de Joya Grande, La Playa Canton Joya Grande, Shaltipa

 Budget= $2500
Financing= Ron Anderson Techonology and Social Cohesion Fellowship, University of Minnesota
Coordination= CEIBA, Ryan Alaniz (U Minnesota), Kara Andrade (Ashoka Fellow, Guatemala), Mageen Caines, Comission Municipal de Proteccion Civil, Santiago Texacuangos
Project Dates: August 2011-December 2011

Irrigation in Santa Maria
Project “Solidarity for Local and Sustainable Nutrition”

General Objective: To implement an irrigation system for the production of organic food in Santa Maria de la Esperanza for the commercialization to the study abroad program in the UCA “Casa de la Solidaridad”

 Specific Objectives:

Adaptation to climate change for the producers of Santa Maria de la Esperanza by way of an irrigation system for access to regular water for cultivation instead of depending on climate shocks which will be more frequent in the future. 

Food sovereignty for families in Santa Maria de la Esperanza who will be producing their own food that will both reduce costs for the family and increase healthy diets for the families’ nutrition.

To create an economy of solidarity between the community of Santa Maria de la Esperanza and the students from the United States participating in the study abroad program “Casa de la Solidaridad”, who will buy the products at a fair price and form a strong relationship with the community by sending two students every semester to learn about the community, help with the process, and encourage solidarity.

Environmental education for the community of Santa Maria de la Esperanza and the US students though trainings about climate change and soil management, fertilizer, and organic herbicides, together with environmental education for the US students by visiting the community and learning the production chain and environmental benefits of sustainable nutrition.

Project Update: After project design completion by Betsy Purner (SCU ´10) and National University Agronomy Student Jose Maria, CEIBA decided to implement the irrigation system with October 2011 flood relief funding, since the harvest in Santa Maria was lost.  Instead of purchasing food aid, CEIBA decided to fund the irrigation system for approximately 12 families to grow their own food in the dry season, October to May.  Farmers are currently growing cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, squash, beans, and more for their family nutrition and to trade within the community.  This month, farmers will begin to sell crops at a high organic price to the Casa program to feed students in the UCA-Santa Clara exchange program.  We hope to develop an organic agriculture praxis student site for study abroad students to spend 2 days per week accompanying the community.  In addition to production expansion, future plans include an organic chicken and egg project, milk cheese, and yogurt. These animal projects are currently under project design, with the aim of fulfilling Casa program demand.  Farmers are very exicted about the project and thankful to CEIBA donors for allowing them to grow their own food organically! 

Phase 1:$2,500
purchase of vegetable seeds, a large holding tank, and several kilometers of piping to bring water via pressue and gravity from a river upstream to the community
funded by individual doners as disaster relief and reconstruction from Tropical Storm 12-E, October 2011
Phase 2: $400
purchase of additional seeds, a second holding tank to expand production, and sprinker system
funded my individual CEIBA donor Mr. Bill Sladek
Phase 3: $500
purchase of flower seeds to plant natural pesticide flowers to attract white fly away from tomato plants and towards colorful flor de muerto flowers, a 3rd holding tank to expand production, additional piping
Christopher Proctor funded phase 3 of the project to implement in El Salvador April 21-28.

Children's Emergency Commitee #2 -La Marmonera ($5,000) July8-September 12

Children's Emergency Committee #2- La Marmonera

This will be our 2nd children's committee. The first was completed in Nov-Dec 2010 in el Borborllon, the most vulnerable sector in Joya Grande. After evaluating the project, we have decided to replicate it and improve out methodology.

 Objective: The program’s mission is to increase children’s capacity to effectively respond in emergency situations by minimizing vulnerabilities and supporting adults. The project increases children’s self-confidence, helps them prevent separation, and organize and care for younger children during a disaster.  Children are trained in first aid, safe evacuation routes and procedures, and methods of communication. These activities are coordinated with families of children and the existing adult Emergency Committee to ensure sustainability and community participation.

Beneficieres: This program will directly benefit 25 children in the community of Joya Grande. The Sector Marmonera is the 2nd most vulnerable neighborhood in Joya Grande (the 1st being Borborllon, where we completed the pilot committee), where 4 children died in November 2009 due to landslides.

Budget: $5,000
Financial Support: Sladek Family, Fred Sanchez, CEIBA Donors
Project Dates: July 8-September 12

VOZZ El Salvador

Increasingly, youth in the country are in crisis – unemployment is at an all time high, hundreds migrate to the U.S. daily in search of work or fleeing violence, and gangs and drug trafficking disproportionately affect youth – the murder rate among young Salvadorans is 92 per 100,000 people. Thirty percent of youth in El Salvador 2009 last election exercised their right to vote. The factors that account for low youth voter turnout are misinformation and lack of voter education, as well as youth sentiment that political parties and leaders fail to represent their concerns or to provide them with opportunities to participate. Many youth voters are also not interested in voting because of the perceived lack of importance of the activity of voting. The mayoral elections to be held in March 2012 are an opportunity for young people to get involved at the most local level of political participation and to hold their future leaders accountable for the concerns and rights of young people.  The mayoral election season is a pivotal moment for participation, and it is one sphere in which every Salvadoran is faced with the task of finding solutions for the challenges facing their country. 
There is an evident need for a youth-driven election project focused on education and training, citizen first-hand reporting, interactive events for conversation-building, and collaboration with the local municipalities to create lasting ties of civic engagement and participation. Vozz, a name created by youth in Guatemala City’s crime-ridden Zone 1 to capture the spirit of having a voice or voz to their stories, will create opportunities for youth to be trained by local reporters and seasoned election trainers, to share their stories from their municipalities on election day, and to distribute those stories both to a central website and to local and global syndicating partners such as YouTube and Demotix.

 is a citizen journalism training project which was implemented as a successful pilot project during Guatemala’s election in August 2011. More than forty trainers from 22 municipalities were trained in the age range of 16- 24 years old. Youth were taught the fundamentals of journalism and reporting, the use of tools like cameras and cellphones, and the electoral process. The reporters returned to their communities, replicated these trainings and reported both during and after the elections. The project continues as an online space in English, Spanish and Kaqchikel  for Guatemalan youth to share their stories around local events, environment, information and news that impacts them. 
This project will be launched in El Salvador as a second pilot test to coincide with the 2012 municipal elections. There will be three components to Vozz El Salvador:

  • TRAINING OF TRAINERS We will focus on creating a training of trainers “bootcamp” program which will convene two youth from each of 20 municipalities and provide scholarships for them to attend two weekend trainings in San Salvador in February 2012. The first training will focus on the fundamentals of reporting, the electoral process in El Salvador and the use of multimedia tools for reporting safely and accurately.  The second training will focus on educating this same core team on three youth laws that could serve as tools to hold local governments accountable during the mayoral elections. PROJECT PHASE COMPLETE FEB 10-12 FUNDED BY CIPJES.  Evaluation and reinforcement workshop March 31. See Election coverage by youth at
  • A PUBLIC FORUM. A public forum will be held in Santiago Texacuangos where youth from youth-serving organizations will publicly interview local candidates for mayorships on issues concerning young voters. This forum will also livestreamed online so more people both nationally and abroad can view it. The semi-urban municipality where the forum will be held is located 30 minutes south of San Salvador, where CEIBA has worked to develop youth organizations in communities and to create partnerships with the local municipal government to help implement new laws to protect and empower youth. PROJECT PHASE COMPLETED MARCH 3RD WITH FORUM IN SANTIAGO TEXACUANGOS BY CEIBA (FUNDING $1,400) AND MARCH 6TH BY CIPJES IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL AMERICA. VIDEOS HERE:YOUTH AND WOMEN PRESENT THEIR PLATFORM read the youth platform here and the party youth platforms here
  • SOFTWARE PACKAGE AND CURRICULUM. An out-of-the-box easy to install open-source software package ready for online launching. This software package with language localization capacity will also be accompanied by a digital and printable curriculum that contains trainings focused on election coverage and participation. This electronic “Journalism and Political Participation Do-It-Yourself Election Guide” will be in both Spanish and English and available for nonprofits and civic groups across Latin America to use as an initial civic engagement tool and gateway to civic knowledge. IN PROCESS

 Beneficiaries: 200 Salvadoran young adults ages 18-24 who live in 20 municipalities considered to be areas of social exclusion. 40 youth will be trained as the core group of citizen reporters to cover the 2012 Mayoral Elections, and 160 youth will be invited to participate in the Youth Forum in Santiago Texacuangos.

Funding needed: $13,905. Funding received from individual CEIBA doners like Mr. Bill Sladek, CIPJES, and Hablacentro which provided video camaras for the youth