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Right to the City and Civic Participation of Youth in Medellín (Colombia) and Cusco (Peru)

Throughout the developing world, young men and women are facing high unemployment coupled with strong feelings of dissatisfaction with quality of life in contexts of weak governance and institutions, increased political instability and growing state authoritarianism - factors that render societies vulnerable and play a role in radicalization. Predominant strategies that are in place to counter these phenomena remain state-centred, with limited participation of civil society stakeholders. Populations who suffer most from this violence, insecurity, and lack of civic engagement, such as young men and women, continue to be largely excluded from participating in policy and governance related decisions. But youth are active in an array of movements associated with emerging social, economic, cultural and political issues.

This specific participatory research project aims to capture two community and civic engagement processes of youth from marginalized communities of the cities of Cusco in Peru and Medellín in Colombia. Further, it seeks to strengthen the leadership of young women and men from these communities, who have started up processes of coping with poverty, exclusion and violence they are facing in their daily lives. Both communities are characterized by social, economic and political exclusion, with youth being particularly vulnerable. Despite these realities, many of the youth seek through community, cultural, and educational activities, as well as labor, to gain their recognition as political and civic subjects. Their social practices contribute to the positioning in the public sphere of alternative collective representations of them and the communities of which they are part. In concrete, two case studies of local experiences will be carried out, namely of La Loma Youth Platform in Medellín and the Human Development Center in Cusco. The research in Medellín will be carried out by Corporación Región, and the one in Cusco, by Puririsun.

This project is part of a cluster of projects “Giving youth a voice: promoting spaces for civic engagement, inclusion and violence reduction in South Asia and Latin America” that was launched in June 2017.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Adrian Di Giovanni
Total Funding
CA$ 299,800.00
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Project Leader
Luz Sánchez
Corporación Región para el Desarrollo y la Democracia