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A $45 million IDB loan to improve living conditions of vulnerable children and youth in Brazil's Ceará state

The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $45 million loan to help improve living conditions and social integration of children, adolescents, and young people at social risk and their families in the Brazilian State of Ceará.

The funds will also contribute to advance municipal and state management capacity, particularly in the social field.

Two out of every three families with children under 15 are poor in Ceará, the seventh poorest state in Brazil. Many of its youth are exposed to severe problems such as malnutrition, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, violence, unemployment, and low levels of school attendance.

“People under 24 years of age are half of the state’s population, but their poverty and indigence rates are of 55% and 28% respectively” said IDB project team leader Mónica Rubio. “Targeting this segment of the population is both a challenge and an opportunity for Ceará’s sustainable development.”

In order to tackle these challenges, the program will be implemented at the municipal level in Ceará’s poorest municipalities, following a comprehensive strategy involving both preventive and remedial actions.

On the preventive side, the program will finance actions targeting vulnerable children and youth drawn from the municipal participatory investment plans.

Early childhood education centers will be established in support of early childhood development. Children attending school will have educational reinforcement and recreation through the establishment of multipurpose centers, municipal libraries, and sports centers. The program will also provide vocational training for young people, and family support and social welfare will be available through the strengthening of the existing social welfare referral centers.

On the remedial side, the program will offer guidelines and resources for comprehensive assistance for adolescents in trouble with the law, including financing the construction of a halfway house and a provisional detention unit, each with a maximum capacity of 40 minors.

An estimated 2,500 technical personnel and members of civil society are expected to receive training on different areas of the program.

Main program outputs are an expected improvement in educational attainment of beneficiaries, as well as a reduction in the occurrence of risky behaviors such as drug abuse, delinquency, and teenage pregnancies. It is expected that the program will impact delinquency recidivism rates and improve municipal and state capacity to manage social policies.

The loan is for a 25-year term, with a 5-year grace period, and carries a variable Libor-based interest rate. The total cost of the project is $64.3 million, with $19.3 million to be provided in local counterpart funds.