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In the last third of 2012, El Salvador suffered an extended period of drought which affected the principle area where basic grains are grown. One particular area was the southern region of the Sonsonate Department.
SONSONATE- The community of Ceibillo El Maguey in the Canton Metalío of the Acajutla municipality is one of the communities severely affected by the losses of crops (mainly corn and beans). The lack of rain has left 20 families without food reserves for summer, the time of year that is most vulnerable in terms of food stability.
Luckily, while recovering from the drought, the community received assistance from the WFP Prolonged Relief and Recovery operation, Food for Work (F4W). F4W is a program in which participant families perform 20 days work (4 hours daily) in exchange for a two month food ration for a family of five.
Anastasia Torres, 62, is a member of one of the families living in the community. Anastasia is proud of what her community has accomplished in the two months of work. The families of El Maguey constructed two pedestrian bridges at the community entrance. Before the construction of the bridges, the only access to the community was through a makeshift catwalk, which, during the rainy season a river front community caused a great risk for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. The Food for Work program facilitated the creation of public access to services and basic livelihoods. The construction of bridges, has led the community to mobilize quickly and safely to school, health centre, market, distribution centre , etc.
Thanks to the summer construction, the river was not a threat, and allowed the people of Ceibillo El Maguey to work safely. Those who worked on the project did no longer need to travel far from their homes in order to have access to potable water, food and sanitary facilities.
The entire community, including families who did not receive nutrition assistance, have benefited from a safe access road. Across El Salvador, 5,000 families have been assisted by F4W partnerships with various NGOs, which have resulted in a variety of endeavours that aim to improve their quality of life, protect their vocations, and further community organization of members of their respective communities.