Estancia, El Salvador - C. D. H.

History of DGH In the Community

DGH was born out of work that began in the communities of La Estancia, El Salvador, a remote mountainous area that was heavily affected by loss and destruction during the country's twelve-year civil war.  In the post-civil war period of the mid 1990s, dedicated volunteers in the area came together to form DGH in order to continue supporting the work they had begun earlier in these communities. 

DGH has been accompanying the people of La Estancia ever since, helping to build a bridge connecting these remote communities to the rest of the world, and taking part in projects in the areas of health, education, environment, agriculture, income generation and community development.  In the area of health, we have seen nutrition improve dramatically; we have also seen the near-elimination of preventable diseases through comprehensive, community-based efforts. 

In 2001, members of the community joined together to form La Asociación de Campesinos para el Desarrollo Humano (Peasants for Human Development, C. D. H.), which was officially recognized as a Salvadoran nonprofit organization in August 2004. Its mission is "to bring together, strengthen and organize our communities in order to find solutions to the common problems we face, bringing about comprehensive human development."

Today, DGH supports C. D. H. as it runs the local community health center and six early childhood development centers (CIDIs) as well as broader community health and development projects.

Current DGH Projects

Currently C. D. H. has 15-20 staff who oversee multiple programs. In health, these projects include:

  • CAIPES (the local clinic/education center which is staffed by DGH volunteers and local nurses and health promoters)
  • An annual dental campaign
  • A nutrition program including maternal education and home visits
  • A specialist referral assistance program to aid local patients in accessing specialist care
  • Initiating training of local people in physical therapy, and improving environmental health through building latrines and vaccinating animals.


On the education front, a large part of their work is directed toward CIDIs which includes six “kinders” or early childhood development programs and a childhood literacy program called Reach Out and Read. For economic development, C.D.H. has begun cultivating its parcela, a demonstration plot of land, with corn, and has established a microcredit lending system.


Opportunities to Make a Difference

  • Currently Estancia needs volunteers to work with youth around issues of violence prevention, drug abuse, and immigration, to provide educational support for the kinder teachers and health promoters, assistance with environmental projects including water purification and waste collection, individuals with nutrition, tropical agriculture, or financial expertise (especially microcredit), experience with database management, and to serve in clinical roles helping in the clinic and accompanying patients and providing advocacy to navigate the medical system, including specialty visits.
  • Among material needs are multiple clinical items that include pediatric BP cuffs, pregnancy tests, condoms, metal speculums, slides and cover slips, an oxygen saturation monitor, spacers with masks, antibiotics, kids chewable vitamins, prenatal vitamins, baby aspirin, inhalers, pediatric medical book, children's books, EpiPens, and an ophthalmoscope/otoscope. As we try to source supplies locally, please contact us before sending materials. A $10 donation goes far in allowing us to purchase supplies in-country.