Sister Cities is proud to work directly with the Association for the Development of El Salvador (CRIPDES), the largest rural organization in the country and a leader in the Salvadoran social movement.
Formerly the Christian Committee of the Displaced, CRIPDES was founded in 1984 to support people displaced by the Salvadoran civil war as they returned to their homes. CRIPDES organized and accompanied re-populations, strengthened local organizing so that people could stay in their communities, and called for a negotiated solution to the war.
After the Peace Accords were signed in 1992, CRIPDES became the Association for the Development of El Salvador. Its current mission is to strengthen organizing in rural communities as they struggle for an economically, politically, and socially just society. On a day to day level, CRIPDES works with local community councils and international and Salvadoran organizations to support women´s empowerment, youth organizing, political participation, advocacy, and the defense of the environment and natural resources.
Today, CRIPDES is made up of over 300 rural communities organized through seven regional organizations. National and regional leaders are elected democratically from among community members. All the sister communities of Sister Cites are active members of CRIPDES.
CRIPDES is a strategic partner for Sister Cities because we look to them for guidance not only for the work we support in El Salvador, but for the way we organize ourselves in the United States. The level of organizing in CRIPDES communities is much more sophisticated than anything we see in the social movement in the United States, so we aim to learn from their example and strengthen US community organizing through this strategic relationship.