Research trip to El Salvador

Here at Shift we have expanded our work to projects in Central America, where we are now working with Whole Child International, a charity devoted to improving the quality of caregiving in orphanages, child care centres and other low-resource settings. Shift is undertaking research to understand how we might package their approach for possible replication in other countries and regions.

As part of this project Manjul and Naomi spent time in El Salvador, where Whole Child International runs their programme. Their focus was to obtain a get greater understanding of the charity and how their projects are run “on the ground”. The fieldwork included speaking to care-givers, trainers, government officials, university lecturers advisors, WCI staff and young people in care. Here are some highlights from their trip.

The WCI staff arranged for us to visit children’s centres and orphanages across El Salvador

A children’s centre in the capital San Salvador

A children’s centre in rural El Salvador, run by the community with support from the government


The WCI staff showed Shift staff current practices for early childcare


A children’s centre that had received WCI training. WCI had also provided physical play elements for the children to foster development


A playground at an orphanage in an urban centre


A rural orphanage which placed children into family-like groups based in individual houses


Murals from childcare centres in El Salvador


Murals from childcare centres in El Salvador


A mural from an orphanage for disabled children that we visited in Nicaragua, where WCI had previously trained staff on their programme


Shift service designer Manjul created a service blueprint of WCI in their El Salvador office