Argentina’s economy went through a year of “endless storms” in 2018, in the words of President Macri. The storms included a severe drought that affected agricultural exports, the ripple effects of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate hikes (which translated into capital flight from weak emerging markets), the crash of the country’s peso currency, and policy missteps. The country is now suffering the worst of a recession that is expected to last until the second quarter of 2019, when the government hopes a strong recovery will take hold. But rising unemployment and high inflation remain serious threats to that optimistic outlook.
The incidence of informality in employment continues to be pervasive in Argentina, standing at above 40%, with youth outnumbering adults in the informal sector by nearly two to one. Additionally, young people are much less likely to be employed than adults, with the youth unemployment rate standing at 22%, three times higher than the overall rate of 7.2%. Wages are highly and positively correlated with education levels, representing another area of concern, as 50% of students in Argentina do not finish secondary school. Youth drop out of school largely due to low quality and irrelevant education. The 2012 Programme for International Assessment (PISA) test conducted by the OECD indicated that Argentine 15-year-olds scored among the lowest out of 64 countries (58 in Math, 60 in Reading, and 57 in Science).
Fundación Nordelta operates in Las Tunas, a neighborhood of 45,000 people with high levels of poverty, located in Tigre, in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, bordering the wealthy gated community of Nordelta. Many of its residents are undocumented (many are migrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru) and live in conditions of poverty, with high levels of school dropout, unemployment and malnutrition, as well as lack of access to sanitation services, precarious housing, and high rates of adolescent pregnancy. With few spaces or activities for them, young people hang out on street corners, plazas and along the public roads, exposing them to drug use and violence.
Fundación Nordelta was founded in 2002 and has been an EMpower grantee partner since 2013. It implements health, education, employability and community development programs to improve the quality of life of residents of Las Tunas. Through its programs, Fundación Nordelta reaches 25% of Las Tunas dwellers. Throughout the years, EMpower’s grants to Fundación Nordelta have helped support vulnerable youth with personal development training and recreational activities, academic tutoring, and employability skills training for insertion in the labor market. In recent years, Fundación Nordelta expanded its operations to other marginalized neighborhoods in the same region. Fundación Nordelta firmly believes in building synergies among stakeholders that operate in the same location and pursue similar goals. For that reason, it has established partnerships with the municipality of Tigre and other local non-profits to collaborate on matters related to nutrition, health (access to contraceptives and sexual and reproductive health services), and employment.
The organization is well staffed, with 17 employees who are highly committed and knowledgeable in their respective areas (programs, communications, resource mobilization, community outreach, and finance/administration). The Board of Directors is mostly composed of business people who live in the gated community of Nordelta, who are well connected and play an active role in resource mobilization.
EMpower’s eighth grant to Fundacion Nordelta will help 394 vulnerable youth from the impoverished neighborhood of Las Tunas, Buenos Aires, receive the support they need to improve their academic performance and graduate from high school; access information on gender equity and sexual and reproductive health and rights; and receive job-readiness skills training and vocational orientation support. In addition, Fundacion Nordelta will launch a job placement initiative to help match employer needs with youth graduates of its skills training program.
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