Responding to Youth Marginalization, Crime and Violence : the Role of Community Social Capital

It is now widely acknowledged that adolescents require positive social capital (social networks, interpersonal connections) if they are to reach productive and socially responsible adulthood. But while there is an abundance of research on the risks confronting underprivileged youth, there is a paucity of research on the effectiveness of social capital formation aimed at reducing levels of youth delinquency and violence.

This project will examine the way civil society organizations in three countries seek to enhance community-based social capital formation in order to reduce youth alienation and promote youth development. The project will be carried out by three teams using a common research design in troubled neighborhoods in the cities of Mejicanos (El Salvador), Managua (Nicaragua) and Ottawa (Canada), respectively, and focus in particular on the extent to which social capital formation can help reduce youth violence and expand youth opportunities. It is also expected that the project teams will improve dialogue and shared understanding between members of the community (notably, youth and parents), service providers (governmental and nongovernmental alike) and policymakers. Each team will endeavor to facilitate local learning in community research skills and several training activities are planned.

The project is expected to result in three case studies, one comparative study and possibly a book. Project outputs will be disseminated in various ways, to different audiences.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

End Date

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


24 months

IDRC Officer

Mougeot, Luc

Total funding

CA$ 287,600


Canada, North and Central America, South America


Foundations for Innovation

Project Leader

Melvin Sotelo


Asociacion Centro de prevencion de la violencia

Institution Country


Institution Website

Project Leader



Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas

Institution Country

El Salvador

Institution Website

Project Leader

Kathryn Campbell

Project Leader

Richard Maclure


University of Ottawa

Institution Country


Institution Website