Global Reach: Grantee Partners

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Alternativa Centro de Investigación Social y Educación Popular


Comas, a northern district of Lima, has a population of 525,000 inhabitants, 22% of whom live in poverty. Young people (age 10-24) constitute approximately 26% of its population. More than 57% of the population lives in new neighbourhoods and informal settlements. In 2015, over 1.3 million young people neither studied nor worked in the country (40,000 more than the previous year). The National Curriculum requires Basic Education (primary and secondary school) to emphasize an entrepreneurial education as well as incorporate a gender equality approach. While this norm has been in place since 2004, only now has its implementation been defined.

Schools face several challenges incorporating this:

  1. A conservative movement has been mobilizing sectors of faithful parents and the Catholic and Evangelical churches against what they call the “imposition of gender ideology” in the National Curriculum – demanding the non-application of the curriculum by the Ministry of Education. This situation is accompanied by a whole communication campaign that dis-informs citizens by saying that gender ideology seeks to promote confusion about the sexual identity of boys and girls.
  2. Increased rates of violence in schools affect all aspects of youth development and learning. The School Violence Monitoring System (SISEVE), reports that 60% of violence in school is between peers and that 40% corresponds to adults who exercise violence towards minors. Several studies conducted by Alternativa highlight causes of peer violence as including racial, cultural, and sexual orientation discrimination.
  3. Gender-based violence (GBV) was the subject of another survey conducted by Alternativa with students: 71% rejected physical violence against women, 66% rejected gender-based psychological violence, and 56% rejected gender-based sexual violence (of which a high percentage stated they would accept instances of violence depending on the circumstances). In all three scenarios more boys than girls stated they would accept a higher percentage depending on the circumstance, sometimes by up to 24% - demonstrating certain prejudices are still common and deemed acceptable, especially among boys.
  4. Schools have become fertile ground for the selling and consumption of drugs, with increased addiction among students.
  5. Gaps persist in effectively implementing the mandatory subjects in “Education for Work” and “Tutoring/Educational Guidance” as real-life preparation – studies cite lack of contextualized and practical content to support life and work plans.

Schools and teachers feel ill-equipped to deal with and effectively teach material addressing all these issues. Schools are recognizing that real-life preparation for work cannot be taught without addressing issues such as the increased levels of violence and adolescent pregnancy, since these directly impacting the school environment and youth’s future lives and plans.


Alternativa was founded in 1979 by a group of young professionals committed to addressing the problem of laid-off workers in northern Lima. The current leadership team consists of an economist, engineer, sociologist and education expert. Alternativa has expanded to the provinces of Piura in northern Peru and Ica in southern Peru. Its work includes environmental development; citizen participation and the democratization of institutions; local economic development/employment; social development; and microfinance. In more recent years, the institution has been more focused on local economic development and social development (e.g. education). Alternativa has a committee fully dedicated to ensuring that youth are incorporated into all program areas; it is developing specific policies and procedures to ensure coordination, exchange learnings, and develop an internal policy around its work with youth and an institutional “external” point of view to influence public policy.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s 4th grant to Alternativa will enable it to work in four schools in Comas (two of these being new schools) to provide training to 310 young people ages 10-19 on core life skills, entrepreneurship, leadership, violence prevention (including gender-based violence), and age-appropriate sexuality education, as well as train teachers to help institutionalize this youth development model, which will help guarantee the sustainability of the intervention moving forward

Where is Alternativa Centro de Investigación Social y Educación Popular?

Primary Location: Lima


Funded Since: 2015

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