The El Salvador Development Society has been working for 13 years to improve the lives of rural communities in El Salvador. Our society came into existence in 2002 when El Salvador was hit by 2 devastating earthquakes, leaving 1 million people homeless. Each year we hold a variety of workshops and talks to raise awareness about development issues and to educate people on the work we do. There are also social events to meet with like-minded people and also raise money for our yearly expedition.
Every summer, we send a team of Imperial College students to El Salvador to undertake construction projects such as the building of homes, sanitation systems and retaining walls (see http://www.elsalvadorproject.org.uk/ for more details). The project is fully student run, from the designs and planning to funding and management on site. We are partnered with a local NGO REDES, who ensure that we are able to provide sustainable development solutions that are appropriate for the people who will be using them.
Our current focus is on sanitation systems as we have found that this is the area where the need is greatest (with 1 billion people worldwide lacking basic sanitation) and where we can provide the most value. Our projects aim to not only construct sanitation systems but also to educate the locals on the importance of using them and to train locals to construct the systems themselves as a project cannot be truly sustainable without knowledge transfer.