Global Reach: Grantee Partners

Alternativa Centro de Investigación Social y Educación Popular


Youth aged 15-24 make up 19% of Peru’s total population. Issues affecting youth include high levels of adolescent pregnancy, school drop out, unemployment, and low levels of job preparedness. In 2018, almost 1.5 million young people neither studied nor worked in Peru. (200,000 more than in 2015, 62 percent of them being women).

Alternativa works in secondary public schools in the northern district of Comas, Lima, during the class periods called “Education for Work” and “Tutoring”, with the aim of developing young people’s social and employability skills, promote gender equity, provide access to comprehensive sexuality education, and prevent violence through education. Comas has a population of 525,000 inhabitants, 22 percent of whom live in poverty and 26 percent of whom are youth. Comas developed when migrant families from the Peruvian highlands arrived in the area in the 1970s and 1980s. It is considered one of Lima’s poorest “pueblos jovenes” (shantytowns), with rampant crime and violence.

Peru’s National Education Curriculum requires primary and secondary schools to empathize and entrepreneurial education, as well as to incorporate a gender equality approach—including accurate, age-appropriate information about young people’s bodies, and reproductive health and rights. Schools and teachers, however, are ill-equipped to deal with and effectively teach materials addressing 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 are directly affecting the school environment and young people’s future lives and plans. Investments are needed to change this situation, particularly in training for teachers.


Alternativa was founded in 1979 and is one of EMpower’s five grantee partners in Peru. Its work includes environmental development, citizen participation and the democratization of institutions; local economic development/employment; social development; and microfinance. In recent years, the institution has been more focused on local economic development and social development (education). Alternativa actively involves adolescents in the development and implementation of its programs, by inviting them to share their feedback on past programs’ results and ideas for future ones, and by involving them as facilitators and implementers of several of its sensitization activities. Alternativa’s Executive Director serves for a two-year term, with the possibility of one re-election. In May 2018, a new Executive Director, Sonia Rodriguez Chaves, was elected. She has a BA in architecture, a masters in territorial management and development, and is an expert in environmental matters. She previously served as Alternativa’s Executive Director between 2007-2009. One of her priorities is to mainstream gender equity across Alternativa’s different areas of work. Between December 2018 and January 2019, Alternativa’s staff participated in an office-wide training on gender equity, and a committee was established to operationalize the organization’s policy on gender. Alternativa has a staff of 41 employees who are highly committed and knowledgeable in their respective areas.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s fifth grant to Alternativa will enable it to work in five public schools in Comas, one of Lima’s poorest districts, to provide training to 400 students aged between 14-18, helping them develop their social and employability skills, promote gender equity, provide access to comprehensive sexuality education, and prevent violence through education. Alternativa will sign official collaboration agreements with these schools to train teachers and transfer its youth development model. In addition, Alternativa will establish a partnership with a local organization to provide continued job training and job placement support to students who graduate from its program.

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