Let’s start with a success story – Do you have one you would like to share?
Eduin Banegas is a youth leader and Empleando Futuros Life Skills Facilitator. Eduin lives in Villafranca, considered to be one of the most violent places in Tegucigalpa.
Banyan Global is implementing the Honduras Workforce Development (WFD) Activity under USAID’s YouthPower IDIQ contract. The project, Empleando Futuros, targets at-risk youth living in the Honduran municipalities most affected by violence and crime with the overarching goal of providing at-risk youth with realistic, sustainable opportunities for youth employment.
Eduin completed the one-week certification training for the Empleando Futuros Life Skills Facilitators. During the workshop, Eduin was chosen by his fellow facilitators as the top group leader because of his patience and teamwork. Marcial Garcia, Empleando Futuros Life Skills Specialist, commented, “Eduin is the type of youth that leads by example. He is dedicated to serving others and the type of leader that gives credit to his team instead of taking credit for himself.”
Are you experiencing barriers in your implementation of workforce projects for youth?
Several barriers exist in WFD project implementation. It can be challenging to motivate youth to participate and follow through to the end. Workforce training requires time, hard work and dedication. Youth need to learn to believe in themselves and believe that their commitment to training will eventually pay off. Another barrier is the strong stigma associated with high-violence communities. Youth from these communities have experienced discrimination based on their community identity, which negatively impacts their motivation and outlook on the future. In Positive Youth Development (PYD) terms, it means that their Agency is near the bottom of the barrel. Youth also face limited mobility due to gang borders, which are both a physical and psychological barrier.
What are some of the best practices or key lessons learned you have developed as a result of these barriers?
To address motivation, our team continually uses positive youth development messages. We also track and celebrate milestones within training to help youth see and celebrate their accomplishments. To address the stigma related to where one lives, we openly address the issue from the point of view of both youth and employers. We confront it with youth in an aspirational sense with the intention to overcome the stigma. With employers, we stress the importance of giving youth a chance. We remind employers that whenever they tell us about the characteristics of their best employees, they never mention where the employee comes from. We look for champions who can help us show others what is possible.
To address the gang border issue, Empleando Futuros is taking as much of the training to the community as possible. Our life skills, basic labor competencies and cognitive behavioral therapy trainings take place within the high-violence communities led by facilitators and mentors from the same communities.
How do you determine your target population?
Our target beneficiaries must be youth, ages 16-30, from the most violent communities in the five Honduran municipalities with the highest murder rates. These youth must have at least a primary school education but have completed no more than high school. Because males are more often the perpetrators and victims of crime in Honduras, Empleando Futuros has set a target with USAID to include between 60-65% males in the project. Furthermore, at least 30% of the 7,500 youth to be trained in our Result 1 must be Secondary Prevention youth. Our Result 3 specifically targets youth from the same communities who have been in conflict with the law, such as former gang members. These youth must be tertiary prevention youth.