Date Publish: 
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

IOM, USAID and local authorities began the construction and adaptation of a communal house and various sports and recreational spaces in San Miguel and Usulután, the Salvadoran municipalities that have received the most migrant returnees in 2017 after the capital, San Salvador. Similar works also began recently in Zacatecoluca.

All of these actions directly benefit 78 communities and more than 9,000 families in the three municipalities. These works are expected to contribute to social cohesion, community development and the reintegration processes of returnees.

San Miguel and Usulután were selected based on registered migratory flows, as well as their link with the El Salvador Seguro Plan. According to official figures, from January to June 2017, both municipalities were among the three with the highest returns, being surpassed only by the capital: San Salvador 2,413; San Miguel 1,722 and Usulután with 1,467 returnees.

Stigmatization of returnees is one of the greatest obstacles to their reintegration. In El Salvador, many suffer from discrimination as, upon arrival, they are associated with delinquency or organized crime. This makes it difficult to re-enter their communities of origin, which sometimes leads to irregular migration recidivism.

The start-up events were led by IOM's Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Jorge Peraza Breedy; the Acting Director of USAID El Salvador, Adam Schmidt; USAID El Salvador's Office of Democracy and Governance Regional Team Leader, Trevor Hublin; the Municipal Mayor of San Miguel, Miguel Ángel Pereira, and the Interim Mayor of Usulután, Salvador Lovo.

"We are convinced that the challenges we encounter in facing the stigmatization of returnees must be addressed decisively and from different angles. The generation of dignified environments in these communities, in which migrant populations can establish links that help them to be reinserted, is one of those angles, thus it becomes a priority for us. We will also contribute to making visible all the positive contributions that migrants provide to communities of origin, transit and destination", said Jorge Peraza Breedy.

"Now, with this project, there will be more options for each sport discipline, more options for groups to incorporate, more options for reintegration for adolescents and young people, better conditions to train that will keep us from the sun and that is great! I want to thank each person and each institution for thinking about us and I want to tell you that we need more people like this: who support the sports and recreation disciplines because, through this, today's generations will not be lost", said Alejandra Mendoza, a 12-year student at the Usulután Municipal School of Basketball.

As part of IOM's Community Return and Reintegration Strategy, the implementation of these improvements in infrastructure includes a participatory process with the target population through focus groups, with special emphasis on youth and women. This is how community capacities are strengthened, active participation is encouraged and empowered on migration issues. All this to facilitate the reintegration of returnees, while combating stigmatization towards mobile populations and contributing to the prevention of irregular migration and social violence.

This activity is carried out under the Return and Reintegration Program in the Northern Triangle of Central America, financed by USAID and in close coordination with municipal governments, community organizations and local leaders.

For more information, please contact IOM El Salvador: Jose Miguel Gomez - [email protected];  or IOM El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras: Alba Miriam Amaya - [email protected]