Population density in Patagonia is one of the lowest in the world, with approximately 1-2 persons per square kilometre. Communities in rural Patagonia are isolated and underserved, with many lacking access to clean water, electricity, education, and healthcare. The absence of quality schools in the area—particularly those providing culturally appropriate, practical education—has led to high levels of school dropout and illiteracy rates. As few opportunities exist for local employment, most adolescents and youth end-up migrating to urban areas.
Founded in 1979 by a group of young professionals from Buenos Aires, Fundación Cruzada Patagónica (FCP) is one of the most well-respected organizations in Argentina, with the mission of facilitating the development of rural residents of Western Patagonia through a two-pronged strategy focused on education and rural development. FCP runs two agro-technical schools:
(i) Centro de Educación Integral San Ignacio (CEI), established in 1982 and operating in Junín de los Andes, Neuquén Province; and
(ii) Centro Educativo Agrotécnico Valle de Cholila (CEA), established in 2008 and operating in Cholila, Chubut Province.
Both schools provide a balanced combination of theory and practical skills to youth from rural, isolated communities, effectively preparing them to join the labour market. FCP’s schools also serve as incubators for community development, microenterprise development, women’s empowerment, and environmental conservation. Most graduates go on to pursue university studies, find employment in various local sectors, and/or establish their own businesses.
FCP has been a pioneer in the field of private-public partnerships, having established a long-term alliance with the provincial public sector, which covers teachers’ salaries while FCP takes full management responsibility for the management of the schools’ daily operations. FCP is currently negotiating a similar agreement with government officials from Rio Negro Province, where it plans to open a third school in 2019, as well as relocate its headquarters to enhance organizational efficiency
Primary Location: Cholila
Funded Since: 2009
Stay up-to-date on the latest EMpower news, highlights from our grantee partners, upcoming events, and more.