According to the International Labour Organization, over 70 million 15-24-year-olds worldwide are unemployed. This issue is particularly prevalent in the Global South, where youth are twice as likely to be unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs, limiting national development and social mobility. In Colombia, the unemployment rate increased to 10.8 percent in 2019, compared to 9.2 percent in the previous year. Unemployment is particularly high among young people, almost doubling the national rate, at 20 percent. Young women are particularly affected, with their unemployment rate standing at 24.2 percent. Young people living in marginalized communities lack the technical expertise required for the increasingly specialized labor market. This lack of skills means they are only able to find temporary and low-paying work. Still, in the most vulnerable sectors of Cali, many youths are expected to contribute to their households’ income. Without viable job prospects, many young people turn to criminal groups and gangs, which offer them an easy and lucrative way to make money.
Alvaralice is a non-profit organization established in 2003 in Cali, Colombia by the Garcés Echavarría family. It works to enhance the lives of Colombians living in marginalized communities, offering programs in healthcare, education, and job training and placement, paying special attention to youth and women from internally displaced populations. One of Alvaralice’s most significant achievements have been the development, in partnership with the public and private sector (Municipality of Cali and Comfandi-Family Credit Union of the Valle del Cauca), of the “Somos Pacífico” Cultural Technocenter in the marginalized community of Potrero Grande. Since its opening, the technocenter has provided dance, art, English classes, computer training, communications workshops, and academic support opportunities for over 2,500 vulnerable children, youth and adults.
EMpower’s 3rd grant to Alvaralice will help the organization continue implementing its flagship livelihoods program in three of Cali’s most vulnerable neighborhoods: Potrero Grande, Siloé and Altos de Menga. Youth in these neighborhoods face high unemployment rates and high teenage pregnancy levels. Alvaralice’s livelihoods program will benefit 320 marginalized youth between the ages of 18 and 24, improving their employability prospects through life and technical skills training, and through psychosocial and job placement support. The program will specifically target young women (78 percent of program participants), as they face significantly higher unemployment rates.
Primary Location: Cali
Funded Since: 2018
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