Where We Work:
Villages & Communities
The founders of ESNA Village Network began its work in Berlin, Usulutan in 1996. Berlin is a 45-minute drive up the mountain from El Salvador's second largest city, San Miguel. Typical challenges for the rural villagers of Berlin are the dirt roads that often become impassable in the rainy season, lack of potable water and the continued deforestation of the land for firewood.
The rural villagers survive growing corn and beans on the hilly slopes of the mountain. They are at the mercy of nature and often have low yields due to the financial inability to purchase fertilizer, too much or not enough rain and the control of local markets for pricing of corn and beans. The average family lives on $1.00 per day and farms a small plot of land that is often rented. Typically education is available to rural children up to the 4th or 5th grade.
ESNA continues to work with our United States based partners and with the Equipo Pastoral in Berlin supporting two rural villages, El Tablon and Cerna, in the area of education and economic development. These are small villages with seventy-five families in El Tablon and thirty-eight families in Cerna.
As of 2009 El Tablon has become the educational hub for the neighboring villages of Cerna, Munosis and Virginia providing education through the 9th grade. This was made possible through the support of our US based partners who have provided funding for the salaries of three teachers. This has also enabled the construction of a new K-3 school in Cerna providing educational opportunities for an additional forty students. After third grade they will continue their education at the hub school in El Tablon. In addition our US based partners have provided scholarships enabling students to continue their education through high school if they so desire.
In 2010 three economic development projects were begun with the help of our in-country partner, The University of Central America (UCA). The three projects will be developed on about six acres of land that was acquired for the community in 2007 as community property. The original design intent of this ground was three fold; a place to construct the K-3 school, a building for community meetings and events, the soccer field and a site for an agricultural development project.
In late 2009 a community assessment was begun to determine what resources and skills were available. In addition a market assessment was completed to determine available markets for products. It was determined that there was a good market for honey, eggs and chickens and that the land and community talents would facilitate production of these products. During 2010 a cooperative was formed, basic business and technical training was complete in the village and the cooperative was approved and legalized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In 2010 the construction of the honey project was completed as well as the hen houses for the egg project. The construction of the office, storage facility, processing center for the honey, eggs and chickens is now under construction and will be completed by the end of Q1 2011. The hen houses for the raising of chickens for fryers will be completed by the end of Q2 2011.
The first production of honey, about 110 gallons, was completely sold out within 90 days of processing. The cooperative currently has 950 hens laying eggs and is selling all of the production on a daily basis.
Expansion of the economic development project at this site is being planned. The hope is to provide the following projects for completion by the end of 2012.
- Utilize the hillside area for the planting of fruit trees. This will increase the production of honey and will provide additional products for sale.
- Terrace a portion of the hillside for drip irrigation of vegetables.
North American Community/Partners(s):
- Heartland Presbyterian Church - http://www.heartlandpresbyterian.org
- UCA ( University of Central America - http://www.uca.edu.sv
- School Construction for grades K-3 (Education)
- Honey production (Economic Development)
- Hens for egg production and raising chickens (Economic Development)
- Fruit and vegetable production ( Economic Development)
Above is a sampling of projects either currently under-way or which are about to be undertaken. For a detailed list and description of future projects proposed by ESNA and their Salvadoran partners, please contact us.