Asociación Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Fallecidos y Desaparecidos de El Salvador (COFAMIDE)

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Public Statement 2016

Title Socio-economic assessment and business support for families of deceased and missing migrants.
Type of organization Non profit
Country El Salvador
Duration  One year
IAF funding   $50,000
Counterpart committed $33,275
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries
Direct: 120
Primary program area Economic Development


Asociación Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Fallecidos y Desaparecidos de El Salvador (COFAMIDE) is a civil society organization whose members are relatives of deceased and missing Salvadoran migrants. COFAMIDE began organizing in 2006 and obtained its legal status as an NGO in 2010. The organization’s mission is to search for and locate migrants that have disappeared en route to the U.S., and advocate for support with authorities to help guarantee protection and respect for citizens. COFAMIDE’s achievements include the creation of a DNA bank and register of more than 250 cases of missing Salvadoran migrants in coordination with the Salvadoran Foreign Affairs Office and the Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense (EAAF). To date, this work has helped identify 35 people deceased while migrating and others imprisoned in Mexico. With support from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) COFAMIDE has conducted activities to raise awareness on the consequences of irregular migration and provided business workshops to its members. COFAMIDE has participated in three Central American caravans of family members to raise awareness and advocate for support in the search for missing migrants. The organization operates a program that includes counseling services and leadership training for families of the disappeared.

It has received funding from CRS, Fundación para la Verdad y Justicia, Project Counselling Service, and the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. COFAMIDE has a general assembly made up of relatives of migrants, which meets biannually and a six-member board of directors, which meets monthly. Operationally COFAMIDE has an executive director and departments of migrant search, finance, programs and office administration.  

Development Objective

To improve living conditions for family members of deceased and missing migrants, raise awareness of the risks of migration and improve COFAMIDE’s effectiveness. 

Project Description

COFAMIDE will assess the socio-economic situation of family members of deceased and missing migrants, support their business initiatives and improve its institutional capacity. Work includes a participatory assessment, seed funding and training for entrepreneurs, and outreach to draw attention to the risks of migrating and to the range of needs of migrants’ family members. Some 120 members of COFAMIDE and their relatives will benefit directly and another 480 Salvadorans indirectly. 

Rationale for Funding

COFAMIDE represents the self-help efforts of Salvadorans who suffer the psychological and economic effects of having family members who have gone missing or have died while migrating. Support from the IAF will help COFAMIDE advance its efforts to understand better the needs of those the migrants left behind and how they can best be helped.   

Learning Opportunity 

The grant activities should reveal how Salvadoran civil society can lead actions to support families of deceased and missing migrants and best elicit collaboration from civil society partners and government.