The community of El Centro is located within walking distance of the highest point of El Salvador and thus is very secluded. The municipal government does not provide regular trash pick-up for any of the Zona Alta, which results in the buildup of trash in the community and substantial environmental degradation. A previous World Connect project in El Centro made significant headway in educating youth and community members about proper trash management and the importance of taking care of the environment, but the community must build on these efforts to ensure long-term sustainability.
The goal of this project will be to encourage correct disposal of trash and recyclable materials on a regular basis. The project will lead to the construction of a recycling shed at the local school, where community members can properly sort their trash and recyclables, preventing buildup in the streets and attention from unwanted animals. The recyclable materials will be sold, with the profits being used for the benefit of the school and students. Students will also be provided with lessons on recycling, environmental conservation, and ways to prevent contamination.
The recycling shed is complete and the community celebrated during its inauguration day. For the last month, students have been engaged in a school-wide recycling competition. The students collected recycling from homes, local stores, and from the streets, totaling 500 pounds of recycling. The 9th graders collected the most recycling and were rewarded with a field trip to a local children’s museum. The school sold the 500lbs of mixed recycling (iron, aluminum, paper and plastic) for a total of $59.67, which is being reinvested back into the school. The students painted recycling bins and placed them in front of local stores. A local painter helped with the mural and gave the students art classes. Due to dedicated effort from the Project Leader, there is now municipal trash pick up once every two weeks in the community. There is a lot of community support from store owners, parents, teachers and students, and the local city council (ADESCO) recently pledged their support for this project!
"The community has taken a great deal of ownership in the project and there has been participation from nearly every part of the community. It has been wonderful to watch the transformation in the appearance of the community; how much cleaner it is as a result of the project. Even the local vendors, the local stores and the mayor have taken on responsibilities which have contributed to the success of the project." - Lindsay, Peace Corps Volunteer
"I participated in helping the community collect trash. I also danced in the inauguration we held at the school to celebrate the opening of the recycling center. I helped to paint part of the school and recycling bins for the local stores. Now there is not as much trash in the street or on peoples’ farms. The green areas are not as contaminated. And believe me, it was an unbelievable experience." - Sofia, 13, Project Participant