We work with local communities that have been excluded by government development policies, helping them implement their own local initiatives and advocate for more just social and environmental policies. Our staff work directly with local leadership to assist with program planning and evaluation, and ongoing problem-solving. These ongoing relationships provide concrete support to local leaders as they work to resolve community conflicts and come to common agreements on how to best manage their natural resources and promote community well-being.
By providing assistance with strategic planning and ongoing access to technical expertise, EcoViva supports an ongoing process of local democracy, sustainable community development and effective policy advocacy.
Coastal communities in El Salvador face tremendous adversity—enough to bring former enemies together toward common goals. Faced with repeated floods and torrential hurricanes, communities in the Lower Lempa River Basin began organizing in the mid-1990s to better prepare for the impact of these natural disasters. A grassroots social movement called La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa y Bahía de Jiquilisco (La Coordinadora for short) was born. As participation grew, community-wide councils were created for the purpose of having a permanent forum for addressing vulnerability to natural disasters, gang violence and other community problems. The Mangrove Association, a non-governmental organization and EcoViva’s primary partner, was created to carry out the activities of La Coordinadora.
Once just an idea shared by six men and women in a community flood shelter, this social movement has grown to include over 100 rural communities in the Lower Lempa and Bay of Jiquilisco. They implement projects to address the most pressing concerns of the community, such as food security, livelihoods, environmental protection, health and youth empowerment.
EcoViva also partners with AMBAS, an all-women coastal conservation organization in Barra de Santiago, on community-led sea turtle conservation initiatives.
Our primary partner in Honduras is Red COMAL, a network of small-scale farmers, cooperatives, and community microfinance associations. Red COMAL provides training programs, facilitates access to credit and markets and helps thousands of Hondurans build a vibrant and equitable alternative rural economy. EcoViva’s work with Red COMAL strengthens resilience among small farmers and entrepreneurs through training and technical assistance, as well as through investments in sustainable, agroecological farms.
Regional: the Mangrove Alliance
The Mangrove Alliance is a coalition of community-based conservation organizations concerned with protecting the mangrove forests of Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America). The Mangrove Alliance facilitates coordination and collaboration among all the actors who have a stake in the well-being of the mangrove forests of Mesoamerica – first and foremost the local communities who live from the forest, as well as conservation organizations, scientists and other experts, and policymakers. EcoViva assists the leaders of the Mangrove Alliance set agendas, strategize for maximum impact, and plan national and international convenings and technological exchanges.