There’s a new movement afoot in the Lower Lempa: Grupos Locales de Juventud, or Local Youth Groups.
Mirrored after La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa’s decentralized and democratic model of social organization, each Local Youth Group gathers young women and men from surrounding communities to discuss issues affecting them and plan concrete actions to address these issues.
There are currently five active Local Youth Groups in the area; approximately 75 youth from 41 communities participate. They are supported by the Mangrove Association’s youth program promoters, who facilitate meetings and connect the youth with resources for their projects. Just in the last month, the groups have planted trees in community areas, planned fundraising raffles, and held movie screenings for kids. Through these activities, young people learn how to work together to make local change, engage with their neighbors and their environment, and build positive spaces for peer support.
Not only do the groups provide a safe space for Salvadoran youth to be involved in positive activities and community development processes, but they are shaping the next generation of community leaders. Indeed, many of the Mangrove Association’s staff are a product of past youth program initiatives. Local Youth Groups will ensure the continuity of strong community organization and development in the Lower Lempa.
As the youth spent the summer organizing into Local Youth Groups, we wrapped up our 4th Annual Viva Fund campaign, supporting youth empowerment in the Lower Lempa. With your help, we raised a total of $7,500 to support youth initiatives, including the Local Youth Groups. Thank you for raising money, donating, and spreading the word!