Northern Triangle of Central America: migration as the only way out? 

The countries of Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) face major social and economic challenges and continue to be characterised by high rates of inequality, poverty, food insecurity and violence. The impact of COVID-19 together with the effects of the climate crisis only worsen the situation. For many families, forced migration, especially to the US, becomes the only way out. 

Seeding local opportunities 

In order to reduce the structural causes of migration in the Northern Triangle, Ayuda en Acción has developed the Sowing Local Opportunities (SOL) project. The intervention has been implemented between 2020 and 2024 in several municipalities of Chalatenango, Santa Ana, Chiquimula, Zacapa and Ocotepeque. 

The project has focused on empowering local communities through employment and self-employment as keys to fostering voluntary immovility. Several employability opportunities have been generated among young people and women through courses, seminars and workshops. Another highlight is the creation of the “Protective Municipality with a participatory stamp” in three municipalities, an example of how the territorial approach can foster a culture of peace and local roots. 

Innovation in migration management 

One of the main contributions has resulted in the creation of the first tri-national public policy on migration and rootedness. Driven by associations of municipalities in the Trifinio region, it represents a milestone in the management of migration flows by placing the territorial and local perspective at the very centre. 

Photo credit: Ayuda en Acción

Another key milestone has been the creation of a Migrant Profiling Platform. Such tool responds to the urgent need to collect, organise and disseminate information on the background and experiences of those individuals transiting the borders of the Northern Triangle. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the humanitarian needs, discrimination and human rights violations experienced by migrants. 

As Daniel López, head of migration at Ayuda en Acción El Salvador, states, “this tool collects real contacts that give us a real migration picture of who are the people who are passing through our country on a daily basis”. 

In the case of El Salvador, the platform provides revealing data on the migratory flow in the region: nearly 60% of people currently crossing the Salvadorian borders come from Ecuador, followed by 19.2% of Salvadorians and 5.8% of Dominicans. It is also observed that the majority travel in the company of friends, children or relatives, and that the use of passports is predominant in 86.5% of cases. 

The SOL project represents an inspiring model of how to address migration challenges from an holistic and local perspective. By strengthening communities from within, promoting innovation in migration management and generating opportunities for all people, we are laying the foundations for a more sustainable and prosperous future in the Northern Triangle. 

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