IDRC and Fundación Capital launch digital tool to empower Colombian youth

August 22, 2017

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Active youth peace building

Of Colombia’s 13 million young people, 4.5 million are neither working nor studying. Youth represent more than half of the registered unemployed, and most young people that work do so in precarious jobs. The lack of employment, education, and entrepreneurship opportunities for Colombian youth are closely tied to the conflict in poor, rural areas. But when youth are empowered they can become active participants in the peacebuilding process.

“The focus on youth is extremely important,” said Federico Burone, IDRC regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “These areas have seen decades of violence and conflict, and now that the peace agreement has been signed there is an opportunity for youth to become active in the peacebuilding process. Additional support is needed to rebuild communities and the capacities of youth in affected areas.”

Opportunities and challenges confronting Colombian youth in the post-conflict setting was the focus of a discussion that brought youth leaders and institutional representatives together on June 22, 2017. Hosted by IDRC partner Fundacion Capital and Reconciliación Colombia, the national platform for stakeholder collaboration during the Colombian peace process, the event also served to launch Fundación Capital’s digital tool for youth empowerment ‘Tonces!'. Combining a downloadable app and Web platform for virtual learning, the tool supports financial and life planning and offers opportunities for employment and community involvement.

“By harnessing the power of technology, we can hear the voices of youth, connect them together, and support a greater number of people more easily than ever before,” said Franz Gomez, vice president of Fundación Capital in Latin America and the Caribbean. “This can also help the Colombian government in their work to effectively confront the issues young people are dealing with in this new era of peace.”

The event is part of a larger project funded by IDRC and Citi Foundation involving more than 1,200 young participants. The pilot project targets the specific employment and economic needs of youth in rural post-conflict regions in Colombia by working with the government, the private sector, and civil society to bolster financial literacy and inclusion; provide youth with professional orientation, life planning, and coaching; and use digital solutions to foster youth learning on a large scale.

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