The El Salvador Project

El Salvador has faced numerous devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and hurricanes over the years, due to its geographic position near the Caribbean and proximity to multiple tectonic plate boundaries.  With a turbulent past, corrupt governments and a bloody 12-year civil war that only finished in 1992, the population of this small but densely populated country has suffered significantly.  Many rural families are still living in poverty, inhabiting cramped and unsafe housing and lacking basic facilities and sanitation.

Following a series of infamous earthquakes in 2001 that left 1.5 million homeless, the Imperial College El Salvador Project was conceived.  This voluntary project involves a team primarily made up of Civil Engineering students from Imperial College London traveling to El Salvador every year to work on construction projects in poverty-stricken communities.

The projects are carried out in conjunction with REDES, an El Salvadorian NGO with 20 years experience in construction and development. Engage for Development and the engineering firm Arup also work in partnership with the university. The projects focus on housing, water, sanitation and infrastructure, and have been extended in recent years to include sociological evaluation projects and education programs.

The actual in-country project lasts for six weeks during the summer holiday, however the planning, fundraising, and post-project work represent over a year’s worth of effort by the students involved.

Our Supported El -Salvador Projects

Low-cost housing

Seismically-resistant low-cost housing for El Salvador As the need of appropriate low-cost earthquake-resistant housing is considerably growing in seismically active developing countries, Arup and a local NGO REDES have developed a form of engineering

El Salvador Project 2013

The El Salvador project was established in 2002 within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London and has been supported by Engage for Development every year since 2009. For more information

El Salvador Project 2012

The El Salvador Project 2012 focused on building two prototype seismically resistant houses in the town of Berlin in Usulután, El Salvador. The houses were designed by Sebastian Kaminski, El Salvador project leader in 2007,

El Salvador Project 2011

The main goal of the 2011 project was the retrofitting of 28 houses in the community of San Jose to improve their sustainability in a highly seismic zone. The team, composed of 10 students and

El Salvador Project 2010

The 2010 project consisted of building 6 sanitation systems, comprising outdoors composting toilets or “aboneras” and outdoor sinks with water tanks or “pilas”. The team was composed of 13 students from across the year groups