Caritas relief team trying to reach local community affected by flood in El Salvador. Credit: Caritas El Salvador

Caritas relief team trying to reach local community affected by flood in El Salvador. Credit: Caritas El Salvador

Caritas El Salvador ran a regional workshop with the support of its international partners on the “scientific foundations of climate change” to raise awareness in the west of the country.

It was attended by Caritas staff who took the information of established climate change experts to various parts of the country. Also invited were professionals from private and public institutions, in order to create a mushroom effect to spread the information.

With this trained human capital we went into rural communities, universities, schools and other places where we were invited to give talks. This costly phase got the programme up and running, and was also vital in laying the foundation for subsequent efforts.

Once the community groups are aware of the problems and can get to grips with the issue, we get them to organise themselves into land pastoral care committees, ecological groups, inter-community committees for the protection and improvement of native seeds, mutual support groups, regional environmental networks and other support structures.

To increase the impact of initiatives, a well-constructed network will be needed to marshal efforts of as many people as possible. So far initiatives have been coordinated and cooperation agreements signed with state and private universities, state and private Catholic schools, mayor’s offices, the ministries of the environment and agriculture, the human rights office, the Catholic radio station network and via local television channels.

Vital roles have been played by diocesan forums that provide information to the public, and the weekly “Voice of the Countryside” radio broadcast where discussions are held on the future of farming against the backdrop of climate change.

Local television also broadcasts a “Voice of the Countryside” programme every Friday where farmers talk about how climate change is harming their production and food security.

Caritas El Salvador believe that to reduce food insecurity, they must encourage:

  • Recovering, improving and sharing native seeds,
  • Soiland water conservation initiatives to reduce losses due to drought,
  • Diversity in farming to help with drought or too much rain.

Caritas El Salvador also says, “We recognise that to build a fairer, more humane and greener world requires agreat deal of political will from countries in the North.”