What We Do

Center for Human Rights Research & Learning


Join a Learning Community

When individuals, organizations and communities engage with Cristosal, they contribute their own experiences and perspectives to a growing body of human rights knowledge. Be it through the Global School, research partnerships, or regional support networks, this learning community exists to encourage collaboration and share best practices in human rights issues.

What We Do

The Cristosal Center for Research and Learning promotes and publishes learning and knowledge on human development and security within a human rights framework. The seminars, research projects, and forums hosted by the Center facilitate dialogue among community and religious leaders, civil society, professionals, academics and decision makers in El Salvador and Central America to improve public policy affecting vulnerable communities.

The Global School

We offer human rights seminars through the Global School to build the capacity of people who feel compelled to act for justice in the world, both locally and globally, to address human rights issues.

A Participatory Approach

Participatory action research (PAR) is more of an approach to research than a methodology. It is a democratic and inclusive approach grounded in communities and their experiences. The goal of PAR research is to transform the social environment through both the process and products of research. For Cristosal, it is a key component of strengthening the ability of groups who are vulnerable to rights violations to demand and exercise their rights.


Research Focus Areas

  • Victim Protection and Advocacy
  • Community-based Conflict Transformation
  • Gender and Violence
  • Gang-related Violence
  • Reinsertion and Restorative Practice
  • Discrimination and Empowerment
  • Violent State actors and Impunity
  • Urban Spaces and Citizen Security
  • Liberation Art and a Culture of Peace

Focus Populations

  • Youth and Adult Community Leaders in High-Risk Areas
  • Community-Based Conflict Transformation
  • Women/Girls Victims of Displacement
  • LGBTI Victims of State Discrimination
  • Incarcerated Gang-Affiliated Youth
  • Victims of State Violence

Our Impact in 2015



Investigations conducted on rights issues in El Salvador, including forced displacement and the inclusion of LGBTQI persons in communites of faith. 



New Global School alumni from North America and El Salvador who joined the Global School this year for weeklong trainings on human rights themes. 



Attendees at national forums hosted by Cristosal on human rights issues including the rights of indigenous and LGBTQI persons, and environmental contamination. 


Research Update

Cristosal’s Center for Research & Learning is currently working with the non-profit Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to study how violence impacts their current cacao development project along the coastal region of El Salvador. The 5-year project, called the "El Salvador Cacao Alliance," hopes to establish new cacao agroforestry systems on at least 10,000 smallholder farms in up to 83 municipalities throughout the country. Despite recognition of widespread violence in El Salvador, there is little understanding of how this violence has impacted community development projects nationally, and what strategies agencies can use to mitigate these impacts. This study hopes to develop strategies that NGO's can use as a model to mitigate or navigate the effects of crime and violence where they work.

Make a difference today

Cristosal depends on your donation to continue improving conditions for thousands of families in Central America. Help us protect those who need it most.