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In recent years, Salvadoran civil society has become more active in demanding greater transparency and democratic governance from public officials and state institutions. Civil groups representing a broad range of actors have found common ground in advocating reforms and have achieved meaningful results, for example through the enactment of the Access to Public Information Act that went into effect in 2011 or the striking down of the 1993 Amnesty law in 2016 which shielded former members of the military from investigation for war time atrocities. Paving the way for major human rights cases, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have played an important role in civic education, the mobilization of citizens, and the exercise of democracy and good governance.

To continue momentum toward greater transparency and accountability, the Universidad de Oriente (UNIVO) in San Miguel, El Salvador, has launched the Center of Research for Democracy. In support of this effort, CLALS has agreed to provide technical and capacity-building support to UNIVO. The product of a cooperative agreement between UNIVO and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UNIVO’s Center of Research for Democracy aims to promote education, analysis, and discussion on issues of transparency, governance, and democracy in the eastern region of El Salvador and beyond.

Through a $160,000 subaward to American University, CLALS will develop and deliver a curriculum to advance the substantive expertise of UNIVO faculty, orient the planning process at UNIVO regarding the launch and operations of its Center, and guide the Center’s efforts to bolster ties with local CSOs. More information on the USAID-funded effort is available here.