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Entrepreneurial culture and youth employment in violent contexts

This project is part of a broader initiative launched in 2016 to revisit the linkages between youth, violence, and economic opportunities in Africa and Latin America. The goal is to address the perception that youth-based violence is propelled by the lack of economic opportunities, and that generating economic opportunities constitutes an effective pathway to reduce youth-related violence. It aims to question these assumptions and how they impact policy uptake by combining a series of case studies, comparative evidence syntheses, and knowledge sharing instances across the region and beyond. Its overall aim is to understand how, for whom, and under which conditions the relationship between youth, economic opportunities, and violence effectively operates.
This initiative provides a perspective from the viewpoint of private sector employers based on the interaction between youth employability and stigma. The case study focuses on the program “Training for employment and self-employment” implemented by Fundación Salvador del Mundo (FUSALMO), an NGO that works with socially vulnerable children and young people. This particular program has been in operation since 2008 in Soyapango, an urban district in El Salvador exposed to very high levels of violence.

The project aims to reconstruct the social and labour trajectories of the young men and women taking part in the program to identify the challenges, opportunities, and critical factors defining successful economic and labour inclusion. It also aims to address the key drivers that influence the hiring strategies of potential local employers, with a particular focus on how stigma is created, addressed, and overcome by those actors. The objective to design and implement a campaign oriented towards local employers to counter entrepreneurial practices that discriminate and stigmatize youth based on their exposure to violent contexts.

The research relies mostly on qualitative methods and a dissemination and knowledge sharing strategy. A partnership with Universidad Don Bosco in San Salvador will ensure that the studies department at FUSALMO is reinforced with research specialists in the field, thereby strengthening its research capacity and training several young researchers. In terms of methodological design, analysis, dissemination, and policy uptake, some support will come from the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO) Costa Rica, the cluster knowledge coordinator under the IDRC-supported project “Economic opportunities, violence, and vulnerable youth in Latin America”.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
18 months
IDRC Officer
Nicholas Benequista
Total Funding
CA$ 170,000.00
El Salvador
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
El Salvador
Project Leader
Guadalupe Leiva Choriego
Fundación Salvador del Mundo