Guatemala: Interpeace joins forces with the city of Villa Nueva to prevent youth-related violence
December 21, 2012
On 6 December, Interpeace signed a cooperation agreement with the municipality of Villa Nueva, Guatemala’s second-largest city, to support the development of their Youth Policy. The Youth Policy will adopt a comprehensive preventive approach to youth-related violence and the promotion of peace and security. It will also create greater opportunities for the participation and development of the younger population of the 526 communities of Villa Nueva.
An innovative partnership
Villa Nueva is located in the metropolitan area of Guatemala City, and the municipality currently provides various services to more than one million people, 60% of which are children and adolescents. “We appreciate the efforts you are making and thank you for letting us take part in the work carried out with young people,” Jerry McCann, Deputy Director-General of Interpeace, told Edwin Escobar, Mayor of Villa Nueva. “We are present in 150 cities worldwide, but it is the first time we have signed an agreement with a municipality.”
The municipality and Interpeace agreed to cooperate in the design and implementation of a joint strategy for the prevention of violence, focusing mainly on youth, and to promote values and a culture of peace. The agreement also includes coordinating proposals as well as technical and financial support related to violence prevention. “We recognize the work they do to promote peace at the global level and we are convinced that to achieve this, we need to focus our efforts on youth,” noted Mr. Escobar.
A shared commitment to peacebuilding
The municipality of Villa Nueva also coordinates and supports a number of participatory processes for community members, many of which eventually evolve into municipal policies. “The work conducted by the municipality of Villa Nueva in the area of crime prevention has been crucial,” explained Mr. Escobar, “as institutions and international organizations approach us to offer their support, which we gladly welcome.”
Interpeace’s Central American Youth Programme seeks to build a better understanding of issues affecting the youth of the region, in particular youth-related violence. Operating at the local, national and regional level in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, Interpeace’s Youth Programme focuses on children and young people from all levels and sectors of societies. It engages them in creative activities designed to strengthen the capacity of the youth of the region, society at large and the state to come together and constructively address the issue of violence and the negative impacts of conflict.