USAID Program Benefiting At-Risk Youth Expands to Central America

For Immediate Release

Thursday, April 11, 2013
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. - To increase educational and employment opportunities for at-risk youth, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will expand its “A Ganar” program in Central America. Currently, the “A Ganar” (“To Win”) program, co-funded by USAID and the Inter-American Development Bank, helps at-risk youth in 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

“To combat violence and crime in Central America, we need to make sure young people have market-based skills to get a job that can carry them towards a successful future,” said Mark Lopes, USAID’s deputy assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We expect this program will lead to a decrease in crime and violence and an increase in jobs”

The four-phase program, implemented by Partners of the Americas, works with youth ages 16-24 to:

  • Promote life skills through team sports
  • Teach basic math and literacy courses
  • Provide job training and internships
  • Connect youth to private-sector companies

Since 2005, more than 11,000 youth have taken part, and about 5,000 graduates now have jobs, are back in school, or have become entrepreneurs. More than 100 businesses have participated in the program by contributing funds, hosting internships, hiring youth, or providing mentors or sponsorship training. Over the next three years, USAID’s expansion in Central America and the Caribbean will impact an additional 4,500 young people.

USAID currently funds the “A Ganar” program in Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and now Honduras and Guatemala. The Inter-American Development Bank funds the program in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, and Mexico.

Last updated: November 12, 2014

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