Celebrating the local organizations that drive community-led change

Celebrating the local organizations that drive community-led change

“If you live and breathe it, then you know what the problem is. And you can come up with local solutions.” – Dr. Asha de Vos, founder of Oceanswell

Dr. de Vos is a marine biologist in Sri Lanka who researches blue whales in the Northern Indian Ocean. When she discovered an unusual phenomenon involving whale feeding, she reached out to some scientists in the Global North to see what they thought.

Their reaction: We’ll need some research permits to send our teams down there.

“I was not even given the choice or the chance to show what I was capable of, to build a project in my own backyard,” she said in this powerful video.

She later added, “A lot of the work is determined by the outsiders’ objectives. It doesn’t really match or align with the needs on the ground. …Technical capacity means nothing if it’s not actually in the context of the local knowledge.

Local solutions to local issues 

As a locally founded, multi-country NGO, Glasswing was created within its own local challenges and context. To this day, we continue to build and advocate for local solutions to local issues. We believe in:

  • A communities-first approach, where community members are key actors, decision makers, and implementers of change
  • Locally driven strategies that build sustainable, systemic change
  • Local collaborations that are based on genuine and equitable partnerships

As Florencia Garcia, our Regional Program Director, said in a recent Chemonics report, “How Local Partners Are ‘Meeting the Moment’”: “Localization isn’t just about shifting power. It’s about embracing and amplifying the unique strengths of our local partners.”

Our belief that change comes from within communities—not outside them—informs everything we do. We are based in San Salvador, El Salvador, and have locally registered offices in eight more countries across the Americas. More than 90% of our staff of over 700 work in the country they are from; more than 14% are former participants in Glasswing’s community-led programs. And we collaborate with more than 70 organizations in Latin America on a wide range of projects.

Here are a few examples:

We could fill a book with success stories celebrating all our inspiring NGO, organization, and foundation partners. For now, we would like to highlight our partners in one program in particular: Jóvenes Líderes de Impacto.

Shout out to our JLI partners

Jóvenes Líderes de Impacto (JLI) is a service learning initiative, started in 2021 and supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, for young people ages 15 to 22 in Guatemala and Honduras. Participants gain a first-work experience, receive a monthly stipend for six months, and are trained in life skills. They join local organizations and develop an understanding of themselves as agents of change.

There are hundreds of very personal, community-based projects that the young leaders of JLI have envisioned and brought to life. As just one example, the following video shows how Daniel, a young leader in Guatemala, brought clean water to his community.

Daniel is one of more than 6,300 young leaders who have participated in JLI, reaching over 310,000 in their communities

We partner with four local organizations in Guatemala and four in Honduras on JLI. Their expertise is vital to the progress we have achieved together—progress that is a testament to the power of collective action. 

Below are brief descriptions of our JLI partners in Guatemala and Honduras. We encourage you to check out their websites to learn more about the impact they’re making! 

In presentations inspired by the TV show “Shark Tank,” participants share the businesses they are working on. Here, a young woman presents a venture for weaving textiles and traditional clothing.

Centro Ecuménico de Integración Pastoral (CEIPA)

The nonprofit Centro Ecuménico de Integración Pastoral (CEIPA) focuses on improving conditions for children and adolescents in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Some of the ways they do that are by fostering the participation of young people in decision-making spaces and facilitating their education and training.

Many of the young people CEIPA works with live in rural areas with little access to basic services such as electricity, water, and the internet. Some come from disintegrated homes; some are at risk of being forced into criminal groups. CEIPA helps ensure that their economic, social, political, and cultural rights are met. 

Learn more. 

Participants in JLI take part in art activities, where they express their skills and emotions.

Tierra Nueva 

Tierra Nueva works with youth and families in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. They provide:

  • Education and support for young people in areas ranging from development to health, protection, and positive parenting
  • Social protection, including advice on issues of migration and asylum
  • Sociopolitical empowerment, so young people know they can be the catalyst for change in their communities

Glasswing is proud to partner with Tierra Nueva on efforts to contribute to the development and life skills of young people, parents and other caregivers, teachers, and community leaders.

Learn more. 

Traveling Museums are spaces where JLI youth showcase their achievements and share their arts and culture. The Traveling Museum shown here took place in Santa Cruz del Quiché, Guatemala, in 2024.

Centro de Paz Bárbara Ford

The Centro de Paz Bárbara Ford supports youth, women, and vulnerable people in the Guatemalan Highlands, and particularly in the department of Quiché. 

Their areas of focus are:

  • Rights and citizenship, including the right to a violence-free life
  • Comprehensive health, from preventative health to food security
  • Economic development: entrepreneurship, vocation and employment, and productive technology

In partnership with Glasswing, the Centro de Paz Bárbara Ford works to improve educational quality and the protection of children in school. We do this through training, awareness raising within communities, and identifying opportunities.

Learn more.

A young woman in Nebaj, Quiché, Guatemala, cultivates plants. Contributions to Change are small acts that young people carry out as part of their service learning.

Asociación CDRO

Asociación CDRO (Cooperación para el Desarrollo Rural de Occidente) is an organization of Mayan origin founded in 1984. It is made up of community organizations, associations, and companies that promote the development of the rural region of Western Guatemala.

That includes areas such as: community organization and training, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, and rural entrepreneurship. In a region where young people face high poverty rates and exclusion from opportunities, these programs provide crucial services to 132 communities.

CDRO and Glasswing work together to empower communities and promote their participation in local decision making.

Learn more.

Young leaders give a presentation in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, sharing entrepreneurial ideas.


The Fundación Nacimiento para el Desarrollo de Honduras (FUNADEH) is dedicated to strengthening the economic and social development of Honduras. Its focus is on enhancing human talent and managing social projects, with offerings such as:

  • Business training programs for individuals and companies
  • Consulting and advisory services
  • Social and labor insertion programs

As Pedro, a participant from Tegucigalpa in Jóvenes Constructores, said, “All the skills I learned in Jóvenes Constructores help me listen to clients. Before, I got upset very quickly and had no self-control. But now, I have patience, and my colleagues tell me that I am very charismatic. I learned that in the FUNADEH program.”

Learn more.

Glasswing and Forosida collaborate on activities to support communities.


The Asociación Foro Nacional de VIH/Sida (Forosida) works to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in Honduras. Forosida’s objectives are to strengthen the comprehensive national response, promote well-being and health, foster relationships with gender equity, and guarantee the active participation of civil society.

To achieve these goals, their strategies span:

  • Institutional development
  • Well-being to reduce the indicators of STIs, HIV, and AIDS
  • Training, awareness, and citizen participation programs
  • Advocacy to guarantee human rights for all

Forosida advances a vision to reduce stigma and discrimination—and improve quality of life.

Learn more.

At a JLI event, young people take part in activities to get to know each other and strengthen the community bond between them.

Honduran Red Cross

The Honduran Red Cross is dedicated to strengthening the social and economic development of the country. It works in collaboration with national and international organizations to provide assistance and protection to the communities in Honduras facing the most vulnerable circumstances. 

Through business training programs, health care, and disaster response, the Honduran Red Cross seeks to improve the quality of life, especially in areas affected by conflict, violence, and natural disasters. It is a leading organization in regional humanitarian work.

Learn more.

Young leaders come together for a peace walk.


Founded in 1983, CASM (Comisión de Acción Social Menonita) facilitates local and regional development processes in Honduras. CASM works to: 

  • Promote social justice, gender equality, and sustainable development
  • Provide support to families in emergency situations
  • Reduce socio-environmental vulnerability, including through initiatives to adapt to climate change
  • Collaborate with community, municipal, and regional organizations

All of their program work serves a mission to “accompany families and social organizations committed to transforming the country to a more just society.” 

Learn more.