EMpower currently supports work in Oaxaca (urban and rural), Baja California (urban), Tlaxcala (urban; near Mexico City), the Yucatan (rural) and Chiapas. Our work focuses on Health and Well-being and Education. Mexico has the second largest population in Latin America with 46% under the age of 25; 26% of Mexicans are between ages 15-29.
Violence in Mexico has been on the rise in recent years, primarily caused by the drug trade and wars between cartels for trade routes. Youth are overwhelmingly the victims of the increasing violence, representing 38% of homicide victims over a ten-year span, including drug- and gang-related homicides, femicides (homicides again women) and domestic violence. Gender-based violence is a huge problem in Mexico, which ranks 16th in a global list of femicide rates; six women are killed in Mexico every day. This rampant violence has a particularly “detrimental effect on youth development,” according to USAID.
Mexico has the highest adolescent pregnancy rate of all OECD member countries, with 60-80% of adolescent pregnancies being unplanned. One of the reasons for this is a lack of sexual and reproductive health education, especially among indigenous populations in rural areas. This results in many young people not having critical information about health, including contraception methods, that they require to make informed life decisions. In a recent survey, 40% of sexually active youth reported not using contraceptive methods or only using them occasionally.
46% of the overall population and 54% of youth 18 years or younger live in poverty in Mexico. This results in high levels of school drop-out, as many youth can’t afford the expenses of attending school, feel that school is irrelevant to their lives, or need to work. Dropping out of school creates a higher risk for early pregnancy; 28% of out-of-school girls aged 15-19 had children, compared to 2% of girls enrolled in school. Adolescent pregnancy has negative effects on education and employment opportunities, and can lead to a cycle of poverty for future generations.
Other countries in Latin America:
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