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USAID awards prize to youth job-training program backed by IDB fund

A job-training program for disadvantaged Latin American and Caribbean youths backed by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund has won the “alliance of the year” prize awarded by the United States Agency for International Development, the IDB said today.

The MIF made a $10 million grant in 2001 to entra 21, a program run by the International Youth Foundation. The Baltimore, Md.-based foundation has coordinated the contributions of businesses and institutions and the collaboration of 35 other NGOs to provide training to more than 19,000 young people in 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

USAID recognized entra 21 for its creative alliances and the outstanding effectiveness of the training in information technologies and basic job skills offered under the program, which includes internships in local businesses and job-placement services. About half the youths who have completed the program have found employment.

Major companies such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Nokia, Nike, The Gap and Merrill Lynch have supported entra 21, which has mobilized more than $29 million in corporate and local contributions.

“I’ve always believed that a good job is the best social program,” said MIF Manager Donald F. Terry. “Entra 21 offers thousands of young people concrete benefits by improving their employability. We look forward to the expansion of its activities.”

The MIF, an autonomous fund administered by the IDB, promotes private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on microenterprise and small business. The IDB is the leading source of multilateral financing for social and economic programs in the region.


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