The municipality of Ecatepec, located in the State of Mexico, is one of the most heavily populated in Mexico (1,645,000 inhabitants), with almost half (46%) of its population living in poverty and extreme poverty (e.g., the average household income is USD 200 per month). It is also one of the most violent municipalities in Mexico, with the highest crime rates that lead to 88% of the Ecatepec population feeling unsafe, according to the INEGI. This situation makes it difficult for young people to access opportunities to improve their lives and have the necessary socio-emotional skills and safe, protective spaces for a healthy coexistence. Instead, young people in Ecatepec experience high levels of alcoholism, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency and adolescent pregnancies, all of which contribute to school dropouts at the secondary level and continued poverty.
Additionally, Mexico has faced significant educational-related challenges for decades that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated. Education in the country is characterised by insufficient teacher training, resulting in low-quality education. Opportunities for teachers to refresh their teaching skills are scarce, and when they do exist, they often fail to respond to students' needs. Moreover, schools lack infrastructure, human resources, and equipment and require families to pay fees to cover school uniforms, utilities and/or learning materials. These fees can be cost-prohibitive for many low-income families, mainly employed in the informal sector and lacking stable income.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related school closures, millions of students between the ages of 10 and 15 have shown significant learning losses in reading and mathematics (estimates indicate losses of ~2 years), with younger students from low-income households and girls being disproportionately affected. Official data indicates that in the 2020-2021 school year, 5.2 million young people (aged 3-29) did not enroll for reasons associated with COVID-19 or economic hardship.
In this context, it is imperative to invest in education and reverse the pandemic's effects on learning by strengthening teachers' and schools' technical capacities and infrastructure (e.g., computers, classrooms) so that young people have access to quality education.
Proeducación, I.A.P. (Proed) is a non-profit organisation established in 1997 to improve the quality of education in Mexico's public elementary schools. Proed developed an intervention called "Modelo Escuela Integral-MEI" (Integral School Model), a framework to strengthen schools and create conducive conditions for learning by changing the school culture, community, environment, and infrastructure.
The MEI model builds integrated, learning-centred educational communities with management capacity where students achieve the expected learning and develop competencies that prepare them for an active and responsible life in society. Moreover, school authorities, teachers and parents identify the changes they want and work together for a better education.
EMpower's first grant to Proeducación (Proed) will improve the academic performance, graduation rates, core-life skills, and knowledge about violence prevention of 710 young people aged 12 to 15 (361 young women and 349 young men) in the municipality of Ecatepec in the State of Mexico. In addition, Proed will adapt and implement a small-scale pilot of its intervention called "Modelo Escuela Integral-MEI" at the secondary school level. Also, this grant will support the institutional strengthening of Proed in the area of human resources.
Primary Location: Ecatepec, Mexico
Funded Since: 2022
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