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IDB approves $60 million to help 40,000 youth in slums in Rio de Janeiro State cleared of drug-trafficking gangs

Goal is to reduce early pregnancies and truancy and to prepare young people for the labor market 

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a loan to support a Rio de Janeiro State program to integrate into society 40,000 young people who live in favelas cleared of drug-trafficking gangs. 

The goal over four years is to improve the living standards of 15-29-year-old residents of the “pacified communities,” where drug traffickers have been replaced by community police known as Police Pacification Units. The program will make available and accessible schools, healthcare, culture, sports, leisure, and training to prepare participants to enter the workforce. The state government will contribute $24.5 million, raising total funding to $84.5 million. 

In recent years, drug-trafficking gangs have been replaced with police tasked with winning the trust of favela residents, restoring civil rights to communities where the state had not been present. However, residents still have few resources or opportunities to allow them to build full and dignified lives. 

Young people in these communities face conditions that limit their development and their future. They continue to be the biggest victims of violence. Unemployment among 15-24-year-olds reaches 22 percent, twice the national average. Only 53 percent of 19-year-olds have completed middle school. 

"With this program we intend to bring together the needs of young people who live in these communities with services and interventions that are important to this stage of life. The proposal is to create a model of comprehensive care that will allow these young people to overcome the difficulties they face in their daily lives," says Rita Sorio, a social sector specialist and the IDB’s project team leader. 

The program aims to motivate young people so they not only become involved and take advantage of services and activities but continue to participate to receive the maximum benefit. Among other achievements, the program is expected to reduce early pregnancy, truancy rates, and increase employment opportunities

The loan is for 25 years with a four-year maturity and disbursement period, and an interest rate based on LIBOR.

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