Combating Climate Change by Building Resilient Communities
We believe that local communities are in the best position to build peace, sustain livelihoods, and ensure the viability of their resources.
A short video about how EcoViva and our partners are protecting one of the greatest carbon-capturing ecosystems in the world - the mangrove forests of the Bay of Jiquilisco.
Community members survey the mangrove forest as part of a study to develop community regulations for resource use and extraction.
The Lempa River flows into El Salvador's Bay of Jiquilisco.
Community organized Civil Protection Units go over emergency response plans at local schools in the Bajo Lempa.
As a result of community-organized Civil Protection Units, 5,500 people in 40 villages were safely evacuated after the Bay of Jiquilisco experienced the largest floods on record in October of 2011.
Historic photograph of the 1998 community-led march for peace that established a no-violence zone in the Bajo Lempa. This project will organize another march to commemorate this historic event and continue to build peace and solidarity in the region.
Mangrove forests in the community of Isla Montecristo in El Salvador's Bay of Jiquilisco
Park rangers enforce community-driven resource extraction regulations that protect the environment and ensure sustainable livelihoods.
Community members come together to restore degraded mangrove areas using the proven method of Ecological Mangrove Restoration.
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
Climate change is a reality in El Salvador. As vulnerable coastal communities face environmental degradation, dwindling resources, and a breakdown in security, they must come up with innovative solutions to ensure sustainable income sources, protect natural resources, and rebuild community cohesion. Climate change is a global problem with local consequences, and local organizations are on the front-lines of confronting the problem. Local organizations are the first to respond to emergencies such as violent storms and floods, and also represent the most vulnerable communities when they need help the most.
EcoViva will work with the Mangrove Association to strengthen social and economic resilience in the face of a rapidly changing climate by mitigating the effects of flooding and drought, providing technical assistance to ensure long-term livelihoods, and building local capacity to promote climate-smart, peaceful communities. We will enable communities to become more climate resilient, integrate climate preparedness strategies into existing risk management and disaster preparedness plans, improve long-term infrastructure and water supply plans, and protect natural resources, economic livelihoods, and people from an intensifying climate. We will strengthen local solutions to the immediate effects of a changing climate by organizing community efforts to restore 120 acres of mangrove forest that provide protection from severe weather events, protect critical habitat and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. We will provide funding, alliance-building and technical support to enforce and expand clear, community-based regulations for environmental protection and sustainable fishery practices that mitigate climate change impacts and ensure long-term livelihoods. We will promote a culture of peace through positive community-building events, workshops, and a regional march for peace that brings people together to fight for a common cause: peace, prosperity, and the planet.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
Our beneficiaries for this project are traditionally under-served rural communities along the coast of El Salvador. EcoViva partners with over 125 historically underserved rural communities in the Bajo Lempa, a region surrounding the Bay of Jiquilisco, in the department of Usulután, El Salvador. The majority of the over 7,000 families and 35,000 people residing in the area subsist on small-scale agriculture and artisanal fisheries that are dependent on the health of the coastal environment. Nearly 45% of these rural households live in poverty, while a third of them suffer from extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1 a day. Provided few alternatives in a stagnant rural economy, this population subsists on small-scale agriculture and artisanal fisheries, including a variety of fish, shrimp, shellfish, and land crabs, that are dependent on the health of the natural environment.
A local environmental conservation leader in the community of Ceiba Doblada, Bajo Lempa, El Salvador.
Community organizers in front of the home of a constituent in the Bajo Lempa, El Salvador
Young women participate in a community art project in Tierra Blanca in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador.
A fisherman who practices sustainable techniques such as hook and line as an alternative to destructive practices such as explosives and long-lines.
Community members from Isla Montecristo in the Bajo Lempa of El Salvador.
A crab fisherman in the Bay of Jiquilisco shows off his daily catch, which is closely regulated by ordinances decided on by the community members themselves. Resource users have seen an increase in the size and abundance of these mangrove crabs as a result of the regulations.
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
Our idea is unique because it places local community capacity at its center. Many solutions to the problems of climate change and insecurity rely on technology or outside interventions. Our idea relies on the inherent capacity of cohesive, strong communities to provide innovative solutions to pressing problems they face. Our approach is unique because it allows us to provide resources and support directly to the communities who stand to gain from sustainable livelihoods and are also in the best position to protect natural resources. Our collaboration with grassroots partners ensures that local capacity is built to meet the evolving challenges of climate change and empowers historically underserved communities to accomplish their own goals and manage their own resources. Through this inclusive project, community members will be active in the management and conservation of the environment to ensure a just, equitable and sustainable way of life for the people of El Salvador.
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Full Scale Roll Out: I have already tested and scaled this idea significantly with the intended user base.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
EcoViva supports community-led social justice movements in Central America implementing innovative solutions to poverty, environmental degradation, and climate change. http://www.ecoviva.org
Communities in El Salvador confront climate change, organize for sustainable livelihoods and build a better future.
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.
EcoViva has partnered with the Mangrove Association in El Salvador for over 20 years. Together, we have built a democratic movement for peace, social justice and environmental sustainability. Community participation at the grassroots is the foundation of our work, and peace building is at the heart of advancing our global society. This project bridges all three themes that are important to us and our partners, peace, prosperity, and the planet.
Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).
Climate change is one of the most critical threats to peace, security, and socio-economic wellbeing. Peace and security are impacted by social unrest, mass migration, and political turmoil. Crime increases as resources become scarce and competition becomes fierce. Prosperity is impacted by environmental degradation and loss of critical habitat to support sustainable livelihoods. The planet is impacted by volatile weather conditions such as prolonged droughts and an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters, as well as unsustainable resource extraction and unregulated development. El Salvador bears the brunt of global climate change, while contributing little to its underlying causes. 90% of El Salvador is at risk from climate related events and 95% of the population lives in areas considered to be extremely vulnerable to climate change threats. Urgent action is needed to ensure sustainable livelihoods, build climate resilient communities, and improve food security.
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
EcoViva works in partnership with grassroots organizations in Central America to promote economic and environmental sustainability, social justice and peace. For over 20 years, our partnerships have provided support to community-based organizations in the region, focusing most of our activities in the Bay of Jiquilisco, El Salvador. This project is a collaboration with local community organizations, local grassroots NGO the Mangrove Association, the Salvadoran Ministry of the Environment (MARN), the Salvadoran Fisheries Authority (CENDEPESCA) and scientists at the Marine Sciences Institute of the University of El Salvador (ICMARES).
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
The coastal community of El Salvador’s Bay of Jiquilisco is well-suited to carry out this project because of their history of community organizing, peace-building, and co-management of natural resources. The region is home to Central America’s most extensive mangrove forest, a critical ecosystem in the fight against climate change. They are in the best position to protect this vulnerable resource while ensuring sustainable traditional livelihoods and promoting a culture of peace and security.
Communities in the Bay of Jiquilisco/Bajo Lempa region, department of Usulután, El Salvador, CA
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)