ConDev partners in El Salvador have been conducting a project for the past three years (2016-2018) to help reduce youth violence in several communities by getting urban youth involved in hydroponic gardening, leadership workshops, social inclusion events, and nutrition interventions.
Partners: Food for the Poor; New Horizons for the Poor Foundation; CHINAMPA Center for Agricultural Innovation and Education; The Conflict and Development Foundation.
Through Phase I of the program, partners were able to:
- Collect data on the inter-relationship between youth malnutrition, school desertion, and gang recruitment in the target communities;
- Identify the main types of violence affecting youth in the target communities; and
- Determine if participation in the semi-urban hydroponic gardening project and complementary social and cultural inclusion activities has an effect on reducing youth violence activities and gang involvement.
During the past three years, the program’s innovative nutritional approach engaged youth and families in food security activities—using hydroponic gardens to produce leafy vegetables—and promoted participation in violence prevention programs.
Partners reported that at as a result of this program, 60 young people have moved away from crime associated with gang activity.
During Phase III of the program (2018), youth continue to develop teamwork and social skills through agriculture and leadership training programs. The project has been expanded to six communities. There is increased participation in community activities and decreased polarization with respect to neighboring communities. Another result of this program is the establishment of Human Rights Committees in four communities.
June 2018 Program Update:
Our partners in El Salvador continue to help vulnerable communities through our Planting the Seeds of Peace program. Teenagers participated in youth leadership workshops addressing important topics such as gender equality, violence, physical integrity and abuse by police/military authorities. Four new Human Rights Committees were formed in four communities. Food security interventions through hydroponic gardens continue to attract women and youth into our programs.