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El Salvador continues to confront multiple challenges as it strives to consolidate democratic institutions and foster democratic citizen participation. Currently, the country faces serious challenges in public security, accountability, and corruption. To successfully overcome problems in these areas, it is necessary to strengthen the capabilities of citizens to hold public officials accountable.

Civil society groups representing a broad range of actors, have found common ground in advocacy work aimed at improving the accountability of public officials to citizens. For example, groups have achieved meaningful results through the enactment of the Access to Public Information Act. This law came into effect in 2011 and struck down the 1993 Amnesty Law,  which had served to shield former members of the military from investigation for war crimes. Paving the way for major human rights cases, work like this demonstrates the role Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have played in improving conditions for civic education, citizen participation, and the exercise of democracy and good governance.

Despite these efforts, and their achievements thus far, there is still much to be done to encourage civil society’s engagement on key issues affecting the Salvadoran population. In this context, CLALS has agreed to provide technical and capacity-building support to the Universidad del Oriente (UNIVO) in San Miguel, El Salvador. This is the product of a cooperative agreement between UNIVO and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). AU researchers Fulton Armstrong, Mike Danielson, and Rachel Nadelman will work with CLALS staff to develop a curriculum examining how a robust civil society and democratic civic engagement influence the establishment and consolidation of democracy and good governance, with particular emphasis on transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption efforts. Read more about the USAID-funded effort.