International Exchange Fri, 18 Jan 2019 03:43:22 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb (CIS - Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad) 13th International Election Observation Mission: Presidential Elections, February 3rd, 2019 THE NEXT ELECTIONS IN EL SALVADOR WILL BE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN 2019

2018 Informe Final: Elecciones Legistaltivas y Municipales

2015 Informe Final: Elecciones Municipales

2014 Informe Final: Elecciones Presidenciales

Please feel free to download any of our Spanish Language Reports from previous years: 
Pdf-32 2000 Legislativas y Municipales Pdf-322003 Legislativas y Municipales
Pdf-322004 Presidencial Pdf-322006 Legislativas y Municipales
Pdf-322009 Municipal Pdf-322009 Presidencial


Centro De Intercambio Y Solidaridad – CIS
General Information for Observers and Volunteers
2019 Presidential Elections in El Salvador
February 3rd

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Since the signing of the Peace Accords in 1992 the CIS International Election Observer Mission has secured a firm and respected reputation both within El Salvador and abroad through its dedicated, professional, and commitment to the El Salvadoran election process. The CIS is one of the only organizations that has coordinated international observers in every election since the signing of the accords, and the election observation reports, issued by the CIS following the elections, have consistently been used as a foundation for debate on electoral reform by the Legislative Assembly, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), and other electoral institutions and organizations.

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International Election Observation Mission Overview

Mission: To Contribute to free and fair elections; generate a safe environment to stimulate democratic participation; observe and inform about the implementation of election reforms; deepen our understanding of the social and economic structures that govern the country and their impact; to promote people-to-people solidarity.

Why International Election Observation?

Communities, electoral organizations including the TSE, civic organizations, and grassroots organizations have continued to ask the CIS for international observers to guarantee transparent elections for several reasons:
To observe and provide witness to the electoral process and to potential violations of the electoral code before and during the elections.
To provide a presence in order to reduce political intimidation and violence.
To support the call for implementation of election reforms.
To monitor the implementation and impact of important reforms in building greater transparency in the electoral process.

The CIS Mission produces a final report which is presented to the Supreme Election Tribunal, the Commission on Electoral and Constitutional Reforms of the Legislative Assembly, Political Parties, as well as other important actors, as a tool to study the electoral processes and to continue to implement electoral reforms. The presence of international observers in itself contributes to transparency, deters fraud, and builds voter confidence, especially in rural areas where the divisions and wounds of the war are still very present.

Democracy depends on the transparency of the election process, which the presence of international observers can help guarantee. The CIS mission is respected across the political spectrum because of its objectivity and is recognized as one of the few missions that are not controlled by political interests.

 What is Election Observation with the CIS?


The work of the CIS observer mission serves as an objective base of information, used as a foundation for debate on election reforms by both the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the Legislative Assembly. Observers and volunteers receive thorough training and analyze the political reality of El Salvador to prepare them to play a crucial role in information gathering on Election Day. Observers visit and exchange with community organizations building democratic participation on a daily basis, with an emphasis on the participation of women and youth, both to acquire the perspective of the common voter and to build international solidarity ties with the important transformation processes taking place within the country.

Week long CIS observers receive thorough training before spending three days in the municipality in which they are to observe, allowing them to familiarize themselves with the specific socio-political context, in order to provide in depth objective observation of the process the day of the elections. The CIS observer mission focuses on large, medium and small municipalities and covers a spectrum of where different political parties govern.

The objectives of the CIS Election Observer Mission are to not only contribute to free and fair elections, but to educate observers about the Salvadoran national reality in an international context, and to build solidarity with the people of El Salvador.

As a volunteer or an observer you will have the opportunity to meet with candidates, grassroots organizations, embassy officials, top political and economic analysts, members of political parties, and many more.

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How you can Participate in the Election Mission

1. Participate as an ELECTION OBSERVER in the Mission from January 28 – February 5, 2019. The in-country participation cost will be US $700 dollars, which will include coordination, translation, observer training, receptions, local transportation, food and housing (shared rooms 3 + per-sons). CIS will reserve double rooms for $800/per person and singles for $900 per person on a first pay, first serve basis while available.  If you can find your own accomodation and make it to the hotel in the mornings, your fee can be reduced to $575.00.   We will accept applications until December 14th 2018. (Please consider sending an additional check for $50 contribution to partial scholarships and long term volunteer participation).

2. Be a MEDIUM TERM OBSERVER VOLUNTEER: 3 months January 1, 2019 (arrival) – March 30, 2019 (departure date)Organize logistics and meetings in municipalities. You will receive in depth training, have the opportunity to meet high level election officials and political party candidates as well as build relationships at the municipal and departmental level. Aplications due by November 1st, 2018.

You will be given a high level of responsibility but also will enjoy an incredible opportunity and learning experience. *Volunteers are required to cover their own living expenses (housing and food) which will cost about $120 per week. Volunteers can get a discount on Spanish studies. Send us the application form with a letter of intention, and your C.V. to:

3. Be a LONG TERM VOLUNTEER: 5 months November 5, 2018 (arrival) – April 5, 2019 (departure date). This will not be required to pay program fees. Volunteers will be responsible for covering flights and room and board expenses. CIS can arrange special discount family stay for medium and long term volunteers for $80.00 per week including breakfast and dinner, or $50.00 per week with no meals included. Spanish is a requirement to be a medium or long term volunteer. Aplications due by Nov. 1st, 2018.

For more information contact: or, click here to download the application form and send it to the aforementioned address!

Click here to download the Flyer with the complete information for the 13th International Election Observation Mission 2019.

Please send fees to LOS OLIVOS CIS/P.O BOX 76 / Westmont, IL 60559 or pay online:

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Delegations & Brigades To check out a newsletter written by Rainbow of Hope for Children in Canada after their visit to El Salvad

or with a delegation, please click here!

People-to-People Solidarity

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    The general objective of our delegation and brigade program is to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the social and economic reality of El Salvador as well as to promote solidarity and accompaniment with communities and grassroots organizations working for social change. We coordinate delegations and brigades from universities, parishes, sistering partnerships, solidarity groups, political parties, and others. We have hosted groups from all over the world. If you or your group are interested in coming to El Salvador on a delegation or brigade please write to us!


     The CIS delegation program is dynamic and flexible. We combine participants' objectives with the needs for   accompaniment in El Salvador. Participants have the opportunity to visit communities and economic development   projects. They can also meet with representatives from the women's movement, cooperatives, political parties,   labor, youth groups, human rights groups, organizations advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, NGOs,   churches and others. Delegations visit historical sites and can opt to go to the beach or other recreational areas.  In   2016, we have organized delegations regarding our clean water and scholarship programs the free the 17 campaign, with SOAWatch, small women's businesses delegations and have received universities and other youth groups


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    The CIS also facilitates work brigades. These are similar to delegations but include projects that last from one day to three months. Brigades have included: building a memorial park, planting a community garden, technical training, medical brigades, and construction projects. Brigade members must have the skills ¡required,pay for project costs, and be able to dedicate the time needed to complete the project.  Brigades in 2016 include a Building Brigade in Romero Community and the PeaceHealth Medical Brigade.  

A few testimonies:

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     I participated in a CIS delegation trip to El Salvador this past January 2017. I expected to learn about new culture and help the communities our church has partnered with… what I received was so much more than I expected. My preconceived notions of poverty and the cause of poverty were completely challenged. I saw intelligent, talented, and hard working people needing opportunities. I was treated as family and welcomed without hesitation into people’s homes. I have been able to keep in touch with many of the friends I met in El Salvador. I am also taking Spanish classes through CIS’s online education program. This experience changed my worldview. I cannot thank CIS enough for the gift they have given me and my family. 

    My Time in El Salvador:kylee kramer water

   While in El Salvador, I experienced many things, but the one thing that stands out in particular is the people. The country is full of kind, spirited, hardworking, colorful people and every mom

ent spent with one of them was one to remember. I can recall reading up on the country before visiting and seeing all the stories about how welcoming the people were and how kind the country was as a whole. I experienced this feeling firsthand the minute I stepped off the plane and saw our wonderful CIS guide waiting with a smiling face and a waving hand.

 I was visiting El Salvador with a few other classmates from the University of Toledo in Ohio to install a water purification unit in the village of San Pablo Tacachico.

  The process was long and grueling, but the locals did not mind and they stayed with us until the end. They were gracious enough to feed us lunch and keep us company throughout the day. I will never forget the moment when clean, purified water ran through the pipes. The locals’ faces lit up and their joy was immeasurable. It was so heartwarming to see the people of El Salvador become so grateful for something that many take for granted. This moment and the people I experienced it with changed my life and the way I view things. In fact, El Salvador changed my life and the way I view things. If given the chance, I would return to this beautiful country in a heartbeat and I know I would be graciously welcomed, once again. Thank you El Salvador and thank you CIS for the amazing sights, people, and experiences. Que Viva El Salvador!

Kylee Kramer – University of Toledo student and Water Program Delegate

From a community which receives delegations:

  “For our community, CIS Delegations have meant so much in our human and social development. With everydelegation visit we have learned how to express our reality. As a young community we have learned how to share our history so that can be known in many other places. Also this has helped us to not feel alone, we have received help in many ways, through phone calls, letters, donations and through the help from the Formation and Scholarship Program that supports and strengthens education for our children and youth. Delegations and the community have created ties of friendship and solidarity, and thanks to their support the community dream has come true: the construction of a dignified home for the families in the community; it is not just the construction of a home but of an integral community based on principles of solid

arity and friendship”.

Carmen Acevedo, President of the Romero Community 

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 Delegations Coordinator   

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From Evelyn:

   Being the Delegations Coordinator of the CIS is a rewarding experience for me; I have come to understand the   real meaning of solidarity. I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet humble Salvadorans with great hearts   who dream of and fight to build a nation based on respect and solidarity. I also have met people from all over   the world, who have shared their knowledge with me and have inspired me to be humble, people who despite   the difficult situations our country is going through, visit it to share and accompany our people in tough   moments, and they do it without expecting anything in return, only sincere love.

        Evelyn Portillo – Delegations Coordinator   

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English School An English School Focused on Social Justice

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The CIS offers classes to adults 18-years and older with a focus on individuals involved in the social movement, women struggling for their self-determination, and those who are unable to attend other language schools for financial reasons. Classes are maintained at an affordable price with need-based half-scholarships available. We offer all levels of English instruction from beginner to conversational. The school uses a methodology based on communication and participatory techniques. Classroom activities, materials, and discussion include social content.


Classes are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 5:00 - 6:45 pm, with a ten minute break. Usually classes have between 7-12 students each, for a total of approximately 60 students in every session. On Wednesday evenings we also have special activities, such as potlucks or Article Discussion Group. We hold 4 sessions a year, and each session lasts between 9-10 weeks.


Students' payments cover the price of instruction, materials, graduation expenses, and teacher training. The cost per session is $60. Students must pay at least half on the first day of class, and the other half within 15 days of the start of the session (to account for pay dates). Need-based scholarships are available.

Basic C Class, Session II 2008 Student Presentation October 2008 Activity on Mining Session II 2008Students Receive Diplomas 2008

Dates for 2018 - 2019 Sessions:

(These dates do not include pre-session volunteer training or post-session evaluation)

  • 2018 Session 4: September 10 - November 16 
  • 2019 Session 1: January 7 - March 14 
  • 2019 Session 2: April 1 - June 6
  • 2019 Session 3: June 24 - August 29
  • 2019 Session 4: September 16 - November 21 

Volunteer English Teachers

All teachers are volunteers with an interest in social justice. Most come from other countries, and are usually native English speakers.

If you're interested in volunteering,please click here for more information, read our blog here, or write to for more info!


CIS combines the study of English with analizing the reality of El Salvador in an objective way. -Otilio Ayala Sosa, CIS English student
My English classes are a great opportunity to learn, I like so much the technique to teach all of our class to participate equally. - Bessy del Carmen Zepeda, English School Student

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The CIS Homestay Network is an opportunity to familiarize yourself with life in El Salvador by living with Salvadorans  in a safe and comfortable environment.  Staying with a host family helps to orientate you with your new surroundings and experience normal day-to-day life in El Salvador without losing your privacy or independance.

The families within the Homestay Network have the ability to adjust to specific health, nutrition or care needs.  Additonally, it is another space for language practice and to expierence culture. 



Through the Political Cultural Program, we introduce students to aspects of history, culture, and the political and economic reality in El Salvador. 

 We facilitate an exchange of knowledge and experiences with the end goal of increasing awareness and putting solidarity into practice. Throughout this process we strive to promote our vision of solidarity with respect and dignity.


 The CIS’s Political Cultural Program has three distinct  goals:

 1) An alternative way to learn about history and culture.

 2) Provide students with first-hand information about the  Salvadoran reality and facilitate an exchange of  experiences.

 3) Share Salvadoran history and culture. 




The PPC has contributed to the CIS’s mission by developing and strengthening the students’ social awareness.  By addressing topics that affect all people (but viewing the issues from the perspective of the affected populations) we continue to create and strengthen ties of solidarity between peoples. 

Activities take place four days during the week between 1:00pm and 5:00pm, depending on the location/trip/activity.  Usually, we visit places of historical and cultural interest, close to the city of San Salvador. Other times we may visit sites farther away on the weekends, substituting some of the week day events.  The activities are very diverse and depend greatly on the people that are participating in any given week. Some days might include meeting with representatives of organizations or activist groups.  Other days we may interview people who have in-depth knowledge of certain situations or topics- for example members of the LGBT community.  On other occasions the group may visit a small business or local cooperative. Regardless of the activity, each day involves time dedicated to analysis.  Some activities are more focused on the political side or cultural side, however all activities combine both aspects. 

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In the Political Cultural Program, we emphasize that it is not enough to sit around a table and discuss these topics. We must also make a plan so we know what to do with what we have learned. This means that what we learn in the PPC does not remain at the table. Instead, students share their experiences with others- they write articles and call their elected representatives. And students take action- they participate in campaigns, protests, make donations to causes they believe in.

Please e-mail info@cis-elsalvador  for more information regarding availability and pricing!

*All volunteers receive this program free for two weeks!

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Spanish School
Field Trips
Group or Private Classes
Study Online

Best Spanish School in El Salvador

IMG 3308The Mélida Anaya Montes Spanish School is an exciting solidarity project based on the opportunity for cultural exchange between Salvadorans and internationals who are interested in political, social, and economic development in El Salvador and the world. While learning Spanish, students develop an understanding of Salvadoran culture and ideals. Through this process students can support the democratic process that has been initiated in El Salvador. The school is part of and supports the organizing work of the Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (CIS).

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  • Teach students to speak and understand Spanish within a political, social and cultural context.
  • Broaden students' understanding of the Salvadoran culture and political situation.
  • Promote and involve students in solidarity activities through a variety of programs, while encouraging students to educate people back in their own communities about the Salvadoran reality.
  • Immerse students in Salvadoran culture. IMG 0059Teachers and Students

The school is small and intimate, providing the opportunity for individual attention and a personal atmosphere. Students come from many different countries and cultural backgrounds. We encourage adults of all ages and professions to come study with us. Teachers are Salvadorans trained in teaching Spanish as a second language. They have a variety of experience levels, some with up to 8 years of teaching experience at CIS. They are active or have been active in grassroots movements.

For more information including prices, please write to  or click here to download the application form directly, fill it out, and send it to the e-mail address above.



CIS is proud to now offer online Spanish Classes via SKYPE

 Watch a video-testimony regarding Spanish classes at:

These two hour classes with experienced teachers from the CIS can be tailored to fit each individual student’s wants.  Online classes will combine language teaching with reflection on the social, political and cultural realities, similar to our Spanish Classes in El Salvador.

Please write to for the application form, or for more information!

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Mélida Anaya Montes Language School The Mélida Anaya Montes Language School is an exciting solidarity project that consists of two permanent programs, our English School and our Spanish School.

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The school is named after Mélida Anaya Montes (1931-1983) who was a founder of the National Association of Salvadoran Educators (ANDES) in 1965. When government repression increased, she joined the FMLN, where she quickly rose to leadership and became known as Commander "Ana Marí­a." She was an exemplary educator and revolutionary who lived and died for her people.

Our teaching methodology combines popular education techniques with a participatory method. We focus on your ability to communicate. Even beginners can hold conversations! In line with the mission of the CIS, our language education also highlights social justice issues.

The school has adopted the five following underlying themes:

  • Human Rights
  • Intervention of Dominant Powers in the Developing World
  • Threats to the Environment and their Effects on Life
  • The Social Movement-Roots and Causes

We also believe that the teaching/learning process is two-way. Whether you are a teacher or a student, you will learn through your experience.

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We look forward to seeing you in El Salvador!

Check out our blog with testimonies from students/volunteers!

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