The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is home to less than 8% of the world’s population, but its rates of crime and violence are some of the highest in the world, with 37% of all homicides. Young people are the main victims and perpetrators of violence in the LAC region. The World Bank (2016) reports that the homicide rate for males aged 15-24 in the region is almost four times the overall regional average.
The Latin America and the Caribbean-Youth Violence Prevention (LAC-YVP) project’s overarching goal is to improve the capacity of USAID and its partners to successfully implement crime and violence prevention programming in the region.
Considering that crime and violence disproportionately affects young people, the LAC-YVP project uses a positive youth development approach. As minimal evidence exists on what works to prevent violence in the LAC region, generating data to inform policy and practice is also critical. With improved access to high-quality information, violence prevention policies and programs will become more evidence informed and therefore more effective.
To these ends, the LAC-YVP project is pursuing three areas of effort:
1. Conduct analyses of crime and violence. The project will increase information on crime and violence by carrying out regional, country and even community-specific research activities to better understand the extent of violence and crime, as well as its drivers and risk factors. An evidence map on the effectiveness of different types of interventions will help stakeholders determine which interventions to pursue further. The project will also study pressing issues, such as the correlations between violence in Central America and northern migration.
2. Generate evidence on crime and violence prevention. The project will pilot and evaluate violence prevention interventions in order to gauge how well they can be replicated in the LAC region. Small-scale research endeavors may include country-level feasibility studies for selected interventions, as well as performance and impact program evaluations.
3. Disseminate evidence and information on what works to prevent crime and violence. The project will develop, compile, and make available resources to inform the design of more effective programs. Policymakers, practitioners and researchers will be able to access this information through a knowledge exchange platform. The project will facilitate an Advisory Group that will bring together communities of practice to suggest new research efforts, ground-truth programmatic approaches, connect research to policy, and work collaboratively across programs, multilateral organizations, donors and cities for cumulative impact.
This project is funded by USAID through the YouthPower initiative. It began in 2016 and will operate for up to five years.