Location: San Salvador, El Salvador
Youth Volunteers in El Salvador: Volunteerism as a Form of Positive Agency
El Salvador faces some of the highest crime and homicide rates in the world, with structural and direct violence embedded into society and politics since the times of conquest. This violence has manifested itself in different events throughout 20th century, such as the civil war in the 80s and continues to greatly impact the population into the 21st century with the proliferation of gangs. Young Salvadorans are particularly affected by this culture of violence, being the target of gangs and stigmatized by the wider population. Despite these circumstances, there are youth that are choosing to exercise positive agency through volunteerism and community engagement to strive for social change. This MRP analyzes how and why some youth are volunteering at organizations such as, the National Institute for Youth (governmental) and Centro de Intercambio y Solidardad (NGO). Through interviews and observations from research completed in the summer of 2015, this MRP hopes to provide evidence that young people volunteering are exercising positive agency for social change despite large structural constraints.