About 40 percent of the 500 million people living in Latin America and the Caribbean are younger than age 30, and the vast majority of them will live during times of social, economic, technological and political changes that will affect them profoundly. Such changes and the growth in the number of young people will have far-reaching implications for governments, economies, communities and the environment.
Recognizing the special role that young people play in building a region of stable democracies, sustainable economies and equitable societies, the Bank created the Youth Development and Outreach Program (IDB Youth) in 1995 to respond more effectively to the needs of young people in the region and promote their participation and leadership in the development process. The program focuses on four main areas: youth leadership and participation, community service and volunteerism, information technology, and youth entrepreneurship.
IDB YOUTH manages a regional network of IDB youth delegates of more than 12,000 young leaders and social entrepreneurs actively engaged in socioeconomic activities who serve as agents of change in their communities and countries. The program supports the network through information exchange and technical and financial assistance.
The Bank and Youth Initiatives
Agents of Change – MTV Latin America and the IDB join efforts with support for the government of Finland
The Inter-American Development Bank and MTV Latin America launched the initiative “Agents of Change” to highlight the positive impact that young people can have on their communities. Through this initiative, youth in the region can submit the projects they are executing to support the social and economic development of their communities. MTV will film the projects with the highest impact, air them throughout Latin America and post them on their website. Projects can be submitted online through IDB YOUTH at www.iadb.org/bidjuventud, and MTV Grita, at www.mtvla.com/grita.
Youth Development Program for Innovation and Social Action – Youth Fund
This initiative was designed to help reduce the number of young people who live in poverty, improve the living conditions of disadvantaged youths and increase the opportunities available to them in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also aims to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The project offers technical assistance and nonreimbursable financing for initiatives that further the development of youth in Latina America and the Caribbean.
Microsoft is the first key partner in this initiative and has contributed donations in cash and computer programs. The IDB has allocated seed capital for the Youth Fund, which will be managed by the Sustainability, Education and Solidarity Fund (SES for its acronym in Spanish) of Argentina. Youth organizations interested in submitting proposals can visit the IDB YOUTH webpage at www.iadb.org/bidjuventud.
Global Youth Service Day
The Bank has mobilized thousands of youth in Latin America and the Caribbean and governments from 22 countries for community service. Many of the youth involved are active members of the IDB’s Youth Network.
Technical Cooperation and Lending
The IDB promotes youth development in the context of its overall support for economic and social development through loans and projects that benefit youth, particularly in the areas of education, health and employment. The operations departments, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and the Bank’s regional offices are key youth partners. Over the past 25 years, the IDB has approved more than $5 billion in loans for projects that directly benefit young people in the region.
Youth and the IDB’s Annual Meeting
During this year’s annual meeting, and under the IDB’s Opportunities for the Majority initiatitive, IDB YOUTH is organizing a series of activities that include a youth service day, a youth conference, an exhibit and a reception.
On Thursday, March 15, there will be a youth service event in the community of El Limón. During this event, youth and residents of El Limón and other volunteers will rehabilitate and paint the school, community center, sports facilities, soccer field and parking area of the community. The event will also include a cleaning campaign, a health fair, computer workshops, sports and cultural activities.
On Friday, March 16, IDB YOUTH will hold a half-day youth conference beginning at 9:00 a.m., during which young people from the region will discuss the contributions they have made in their communities and share their life experiences. The event will include the screening of a video from the initiative “Agents of Change,” and a dialogue between IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and youth leaders. The conference will end with a cultural event and a reception.