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Besieged lives: Solutions-oriented evidence on young women, economic opportunities and violence in Latin America

Of the world’s ten countries with the highest youth homicide rates, half are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Youth are overrepresented in crime statistics both as perpetrators and as victims of violence. This violence has lasting effects on their economic, social, and educational opportunities.

A vast number of socio-economic programs and policies in the region are based on the unsubstantiated assumption that unemployment and lack of economic opportunities for youth drive violence, leading to the conclusion that creating economic opportunities is the way to “pull youth out of violence”. Learnings from IDRC-supported projects in Latin America demonstrate that the drivers of violence are more complex; that engaging youth in the construction of safer spaces is paramount to any program’s success; and that non-violent populations are unfairly stigmatized and deprived of employment opportunities simply because they live in violent territories, which then fosters cycles of violence.

A key knowledge gap is that young women’s experiences seeking economic opportunities in violent contexts are less understood and less represented in public policies than those of young men. As a result, this project seeks to generate new evidence on the specific challenges facing young women and to identify promising and scalable public and private interventions that can address violence and promote their economic inclusion.

To carry out this work, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) is implementing a competitive call for proposals that will ultimately support up to six projects. FLACSO is responsible for providing funding to these projects, ensuring their technical and administrative quality, and ensuring communication activities and synthesis of findings across projects to promote regional-level policy uptake.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Alejandra Vargas Garcia
Total Funding
CA$ 1,145,800.00
South America
Employment and Growth
Sustainable Inclusive Economies
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Costa Rica
Project Leader
Dr. Juan Pablo Pérez Sáinz
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales/Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences