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This paper reflects on the obstacles facing Salvadorian NGOs in the transition from war to peace. Firstly, on the difficulties inherent in the peace process itself: insufficient structural change; the trap of electoral politics; a transition process that was too narrowly defined; and the impossibility of reconciliation without addressing the need for collective memory, public responsibility, or justice. Secondly, on the difficulties peculiar to NGOs and popular organisations in El Salvador: the difference between the skills and resources they had developed in war and those needed in peace; the problems in establishing their role in the national reconstruction plan; and the fact that they were themselves made up of people who were still suffering the psychological wounds of war.

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