Strategies for social and labor inclusion of young people in marginalized areas of Cali, Colombia
The rate of homicides in Cali, Colombia reached 50.8 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, earning the city a reputation as one of the most violent in Latin America. The homicides primarily occurred in neighbourhoods with higher levels of poverty in the hillside and the eastern zone of Cali, where most of the city’s Afro-descendant population lives. Both victims and perpetrators were concentrated in the 18-29 age group, and 94% of victims were male. Several risk factors have contributed to the increase in violence among youth, such as disputes between youth gangs and criminal gangs for territorial control and interactions between youth gangs and organized crime around local illegal drug trafficking, small-scale loans, and the sale of protection services against extortion and private justice.
Despite these challenges, Cali is also referenced as a model to follow due to its promising violence reduction initiatives and job creation programs geared mostly towards youth under the leadership of the municipality. In response to Cali’s high homicide rates since 2016, the mayor's office and the police, in association with the Cisalva Institute of the Universidad del Valle in Cali, implemented the local municipal program “TIP JSF” (Integral Treatment of Gangs - Youth without Borders) aimed at promoting social inclusion and the restitution of rights to members of youth gangs in eight districts of Cali.
This project will examine and evaluate the program to strengthen strategies to deal with problems caused by the lack of job opportunities for vulnerable young people affected by high crime, violence, and unmet basic needs. The lessons learned from this evaluation will be synthesized and shared with policymakers and the mayor’s office to inform better strategies for youth employment and violence prevention in Cali.
This proposal is part of a broader initiative launched in 2016 aiming to revisit the linkages between youth, violence, and economic opportunities in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. This is one of the projects targeting the vulnerability of LGBTQI+ youth.