The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Microsoft Corporation announced today an agreement to jointly fund the Youth Development Program for Innovation and Social Action, a US $1 million fund that will support eligible non-profit organization across Latin America and the Caribbean.
The objective of the program is to broaden information technology (IT) skills and economic opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Latin America and the Caribbean through targeted initiatives for young people that contribute to their development as individuals and to the development of their communities. IDB and Microsoft will contribute US $500,000 each. Additionally, Microsoft will provide software and training valued at more than one million dollars.
The announcement was made during a half-day youth conference organized by IDB YOUTH in the context of the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the IDB and the Iner-American Investment Corporation (IIC). IDB YOUTH, the IDB’s Youth Development and Outreach Program, fosters the active participation and leadership of youth in the development of the region.
“Technology is the best means we have to link the informal sector of our economies with the formal sector,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “There lies the key to Latin America’s growth; the key to generating opportunities of the majority in our region.”
Orlando Ayala, Microsoft’s Senior Vice President of the Emerging Segments Market Development Group, said the best way of activating the potential of youth in the region is through technology and education.
“Coming from a peasant father, and after having had the opportunity to see the world, I have no doubt that there is a treasure in every corner of the world which is its people,” said Ayala. “The question is how do we activate our dreams to ensure that our youth, who constitute the future of our continent, can compete in the international arena.”
Moreno and Ayala participated with Guatemalan Vicepresident, Eduardo Stein, and singer Juanes in a panel during the youth conference. The panel comprised of Guatemalan youth leaders, including a young indigenous woman of Mayan-Quiche descent, discussed several issues of concern for the region such as education, poverty and social inclusion.
The youth event included the screening of a video from the initiative “Agents of Change” launched by the IDB and MTV Latin America to highlight the positive impact that young people can have on their communities. Through this initiative, youth in the region submit the projects they are executing to support the social and economic development of their communities. MTV films the projects with the highest impact, air them throughout Latin America and post them on their website.