The project on “Knowledge Management” responds to the need of MdM in the Mesoamerican Region of building its capacities based on the results of the projects implemented so far in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and southern Mexico. MdM is present in this area, having offices and professional and technical teams working in two main axes for the period 2017-2020: “Migration and Forced Displacement” and “Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights/ Violence against Women Prevention” This project is aimed at fostering conditions to articulate practice communities through ongoing training on Knowledge Management for MdM staff in the Mesoamerican Region. The need identified in El Salvador is to have all the implemented activities interrelated. With that aim, technical, professional and logistics teams must be strengthened to build “shared knowledge” on methodological processes as well as enhanced monitoring and assessment tools. The objective is to improve our performance by reinforcing skills and competences thanks to research evidence, to be ultimately shared via an internal and external “Communication Strategy”. This would allow scaling-up and replication of this experience to other MdM headquarters, in the Regional Meeting of MdM at the end of 2018. In the case of El Salvador, there is a need to improve the reports that account for the actions that we are developing in the country. Hence it is essential to strengthen the technical teams for the construction of "collective knowledge" based on methodological processes, better information management tools which will ultimately allow us to share both internally and externally the work developed by our teams. Our local partners in El Salvador, community-based organizations, NGOs, partners in our developing and humanitarian aid projects, will be actively involved in the activities of this project, thus ensuring MdM´s reporting capacities are also passed on to these local partners to strengthen their joint learning spaces. The role of the volunteer will be to support the reinforcement of the knowledge management strategy of the MdM team in El Salvador, in order to promote our two main axes: “Migration and Forced Displacement” and “Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights/ Violence against Women Prevention”.
Operational details & security context
A Research Study on Forced Displacement that we have recently undergone shows the following: “El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, known as the Central America's Northern Triangle, represent the world's most violent region not at war. In 2016, the homicide rate of El Salvador stood at 83.21 out of every 100,000 inhabitants, having slightly decreased in comparison to 2015 (102.9 out of 100,000 inhabitants).”
According to data provided by the Medicina Legal, direct violence in the country affects mainly young men aged 15-30. This can be partially explained by the presence and territoriality of gangs, in which this age range and gender are popular.
Violence and its dynamics are complex. In the collective imagination, violence is mainly attributed to gangs, a complex issue in El Salvador since 2000. Different security policies have been implemented by the Administrations in power in El Salvador: Plan Mano Dura (Iron Fist Plan), Plan Súper Mano dura (Super Iron Fist Plan), Medidas Extraordinarias (Extraordinary Measures), while mass media have contributed to identify gangs as a public enemy. Some of the bigger gangs in the country are Mara Salvatrucha and Pandilla 18, often associated with the reason behind the level of violence in El Salvador. However, gangs are just a reflection of a violence culture (Fespad, 2016) and further analysis of violence and its agents can be useful to better understand this issue.
MdM Security Plans
MdM El Salvador has its own Security Plan, rooted in the policies drawn from the “Conceptual Framework for Security Management” by MdM. Its main objectives are:
- To reduce security risks for staff, by allowing them to integrate and implement security rules and regulations to prevent any potential emergency.
- To plan and coordinate actions to be taken by the person in charge of security, in case of emergency.
- To schedule preventive actions in order to prevent emergency situations.
To schedule training activities and drills for the staff to be prepared to act in case of emergency.
- To have an updated procedure available.
The volunteer will adhere to these norms which will be shared with him/her in the pre-deployment training or briefing.
The assignment of the volunteer does not imply working in the field, but in workshops, meetings and gatherings with working teams and local partners, community-based organizations, NGOs, etc. Should any field visit be done, it would be scheduled and planned with the relevant teams.
Medicos del Mundo has developed a Security Plan adjusted to the specific context of La Paz department and taking into account the level of violence, which is periodically monitored, in collaboration with the organization Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de DDHH and UDEFEGUA (Human Rights Defenders Protection Unit) in Guatemala (link:
www.udefegua.org), experts on this issue in Central America. Several workshops have already been done with UDEFEGUA, which allow us to confirm that their methodology includes a permanent monitoring procedure of the context and risks analysis in order to adjust or modify any aspect of the project, if the case may be.
Moreover, Medicos del Mundo has wide experience in the Mesoamerican Region, having worked in the field and with communities for more than 20 years. Public institutions and civil society acknowledge our expertise. Any field visit is carried out in official and identified vehicles and in company of staff wearing clothes displaying corporate logos and colors.
In the event of a security threat or special circumstance, all activities will be brought to a halt as long as required, according to the Security Plan.