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Generating innovative experiences to improve the quality of life of children, teenagers and youth in Chimaltenango

Chimaltenango, 22nd of June 2016.- In coordination with the Ministry of Government (MINGOB) ─through the Third Deputy ministry of Violence and Crime Prevention─, the Social Welfare Secretariat (SBS) and the Municipality of Chimaltenango, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) joined efforts to implement the regional Project “Comprehensive Security and Prevention of Violence affecting Children, Teenagers and Youth in CAIS countries” (PREVJUVE) with the purpose of generating innovative experiences and models contributing to reduce the risk factors of insecurity and violence affecting children, teenagers and youth.

UNDP Country Director Igor Garafulic, AECID Program Officer Eduardo González, Third Deputy Minister of Violence and Crime Prevention Axel Romero, Social Welfare Secretary Mareny Mérida, Municipal Mayor of Chimaltenango Alexander Simaj, CAIS (Central American Integration System) Democratic Security Director Hefer Morataya and Regional PREVJUVE Coordinator Carla Hanania all took part in the public launch event. The project was presented and a letter of understanding was signed by the institutions in the presence of government officials, local authorities, representatives of civil society organizations, youth groups and aid workers.

UNDP Country Director Garafulic said: “We consider that contributing to human development and to collective welfare while giving priority to vulnerable population is the only way of fighting violence in Guatemalan society. This is especially true for children, teenagers and youth, even when teenagers and youth get involved in criminality. We need public policies, plans, and interinstitutional/intersectoral programs that are developed within a local framework using concepts from the field of citizen security such as “human security” and “building a culture of peace”. They would translate into specific actions resulting from the efforts of all actors at a territorial level, including children, teenagers and youth.”

Given that the department of Chimaltenango has the minimum initial conditions to perform the intervention and obtain the expected impact in terms of improvement of the quality of life of teenagers and youth, PREVJUVE will be implemented in this municipality in order to work with preventive models at a local level. Even though according to crime rates Chimaltenango is not the department nor the municipality with the highest levels of violence, violence has increased exponentially in the last two years, more so than it as in other regions. The number of teenagers from this department in conflict with criminal law and awaiting trial has increased in the last 4 years as well.

In this context, PREVJUVE will promote protection and prevention processes at the secondary level for children, teenagers and youth at risk of social conflict due to violence; at the tertiary level, for teenagers and youth in conflict with criminal law, and for their families and communities. Secondary and tertiary prevention will be integrated in municipal policies for the prevention of violence and crimes and in local prevention plans. Spaces for interinstitutional articulation of security and specialized justice will be strengthened and a model for secondary and tertiary prevention at both the municipal and the departmental level will be implemented.

During the event, Mr. Morataya from the CAIS presented the Strategic Framework for the Prevention of Violence as a regional tool adopted by CAIS countries to orient policies and actions in violence prevention in Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic.

Through Guatemala, PREVJUVE will contribute to the implementation of the Central American Strategy for Security (CASS) at the regional level, particularly to the axis of violence prevention in children, teenagers and youth. The implementation and systematization of the project will feed back on good practices in citizen security at the regional level.