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Cuidemos el Medio Ambiente, es un Trabajo de Todos/ Let’s Take Care of the Environment, its Everyone’s Job

Facilitate the discussion between Spanish speaking stakeholders and coordinate the implementation of the objectives using their input.

Photo of Mercedes Vasquez
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The idea of this project is to rescue the natural resources of the Municipality of Santo Tomas in San Salvador, El Salvador through environmental workshops promoting the awareness and education of students from the different institutions in the area. The objectives of the program consist of participation in reforestation, recognizing the value of recycling, understanding the importance of water and trees in a community, and creating an ecological vision for children. This project would be developed through the recovery of recyclable materials, reduction of environmental pollution, planting trees native to this municipality, and motivating students to participate actively in the process. It is expected that the project would inspire children to alter habits and eventually possibly work in research so that they become more involved in the issues of environmental pollution and how to solve critical situations that may arise in their communities. Until a few years ago, Santo Tomas had been one of the few municipalities still containing dense vegetation, many unpolluted rivers and a variety of wild animals. With the arrival of different factories to the municipality, residents noticed the rivers were becoming contaminated. This community has suffered environmental damage from a variety of factors. The indiscriminate felling of trees has increased erosion, destroyed the habitat of animals and diminished other vegetation dependent on the tree canopy. Of these trees demolished: 1,311 were centenarians, an average of 24,051 fruit trees and shrubs on a plot of 201, 688. 89 square meters and 40 types of trees in danger of extinction. Other factors have been the disappearance of some rivers and the contamination of others. These factors have also caused the slow disappearance of wildlife due to the lack of water and food. In this municipality, companies were allowed to destroy trees and rivers to build households and a shopping center without considering the damages.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries of this project will be the communities of Santo Tomas and Tacuzcalco in El Salvador. The schools in the communities will be supporting our project. We will be providing Talleres Ambientales/Mobil Environmental Workshops through our Promotores del Medio Ambiente/Environmental Promoters who will be visiting the schools three times a week. The environment promoters will be working with 35 students on each session. The children, youth and adults will benefit by living in a cleaner environment free of contamination by learning and practicing to deposit the trash in its right place, by planting trees, by recycling paper, plastic, aluminum, cardboard, wood, glass, leaves, metals and by saving energy and water. The community as a whole will also benefit from this project because they will not only be enjoying cleaner cities but also by putting the garbage in the trashcans they will have cleaner streets and less risks of flooding by keeping the sewer system free of trash.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our environment project in helping the students learn how to take care of our city and our planet is unique because we are the only ones working with this idea in these communities. We are the only organization working with the Environmental Promoters who are trying to educate through our Talleres Ambientales Moviles/Environment Mobile Worshops. We noticed that in Santo Tomas, there are no trash cans available for the community and we thought that working to make available the idea of garbage cans would be a good beginning to help children and the community in general to create a sense of responsibility towards the environment in which they live. Our idea is unique because our environmental promoters are the young adults from the same communities of Santo Tomas and Tacuzcalco who will be in charge of sending the message to our young children and adults on how to take care of our planet. This project is unique because we are the only group in Santo Tomas working for the reforestation.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

We are Reconstruyendo El Salvador RESAL a non-profit organization that supports the improvement of health, education and the environment.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

The inspiration for this project started when we saw the natural resources were deteriorating in this community and all over the country. We noted that we needed to start protecting the trees, animals and the water resources. We felt it was urgent to start creating a sense of responsibility in our young children so they can grow up with a good understanding on how to take care of the place in which we live.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Connecting planet and community involvement are very important factors to achieve our goal of prosperity when it comes to saving the natural resources locally and all over our country. El Salvador has always had rich soil and ample water to support its population but now communities and the country are in danger of not being able to sustain an increasingly urban country. The expansion of urban areas has created a loss of farmland and natural habitats. Farms upon which families depended for generations now have poor soil or lack water. We believe that planet health and prosperity can be achieved with small decisions we make that reduce the devastation of drought, deforestation, wildlife extinction and protecting our water resources. Another way to connect planet and prosperity is by recycling, reusing, reducing and the reforestation process. No matter how small our participation in this challenge, we can help by keeping plastics away from our streets as well as from our oceans.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

In this project, we will be working with OPCR Ordenanza de Protección, Conservación y Recuperación del Medio Ambiente del Municipio de Santo Tomas en San Salvador who looks to regulate and avoid the progressive damage to the environment. In Santo Tomas we partner with Unidad for the Environment which is an authority on the protection of the environment. Reconstruyendo El Salvador RESAL will be working with the communities of Santo Tomas and Tacuzcalco. The schools, churches, local businesses, local government and women associations will participate in this project guided by youth. We will partner with MOMUJEST Movimiento de Mujeres de Santo Tomas which is committed to the promotion and defense of women’s human and environmental rights. We will also work with AMEYALLI Colectivo de Mujeres Jovenes Feministas. They are a group of young women helping other youth by teaching them adult skills like cooking, sewing, and maintaining personal hygiene. AMUIS Asociacion de Mujeres Unidas

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Before the rivers where contaminated or dried up, they were able to use the water from nearby rivers for cooking, washing clothes and bathing. Now, they have to rely either on collecting rain water or by going to very far places to do their laundry. From these inconveniences they realized that they must unite and participate in solving their water problems as well as protecting the environment. The community has a network of community leaders who are interested in preserving their environment.

Geographic Focus

Santo Tomas in San Salvador and Tacuzcalco in Sonsonate – El Salvador

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project will be executed in three years divided in four phases. We will have the informative period in which we will have the Environmental Workshops, where students will get informed about the different ways of taking care of their environment. We will have the hands on phase where students will actively participate doing recycling work in their communities by doing street cleaning in their vicinity. Another phase will be to provide deposits for solid trash, recycling materials and greens.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ana Luisa Ahern

Hello Mercedes Vasquez 
I work with EcoViva on mangrove restoration and environmental conservation in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador. Your project sounds very promising and I would like to connect with you to see if there are any opportunities for collaboration!

Photo of Mercedes Vasquez

Muy bien Ana Lluisa. Nuestro trabajo comenzo en El Bajo Lempa con el tema de la Deficiencia Renal. Este es mi correo electronico para que nos pongamos de acuerdo.