Quintana Roo, Mexico – Officials of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), dignitaries of the Mexican government, partners from the public and private sectors, and civil society visited today a community development project that promotes sports as a tool for improving the well-being of youth.
The president of the IDB and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the IIC, Luis Alberto Moreno, and the Governor of Quintana Roo, Mexico, Félix González Canto, participated in the event. Also visiting were the IDB's Executive Director for Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Cecilia Ramos, and personalities from the government, sports, arts and business world.
The event highlighted the importance of sports and culture as a tool for youth development. Participating in sports activities has demonstrated to motivate, train and retain the young in development programs and volunteering activities. In addition, it promotes the resolution of conflicts, the prevention of violence, the creation of jobs, entrepreneurship, education and social inclusion at the community level.
The activities took place as part of the Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the IDB and the IIC, during the launch of the community project in Leona Vicario in the State of Quintana Roo.
“We believe that the skills learned through sports can also be transformed into skills for everyday life and aptitudes for employment”, said the IDB president, Luis Alberto Moreno. “Together we will use our specialized knowledge and our experience to work with international, national and local partners to offer youth sports training centers, where they can get involved in other educational, cultural and recreational activities.”
“In the state of Quintana Roo, we have prioritized our citizens’ development. We promote sports and culture as means to encourage our values reaching all corners of our entity. In our state policy, quality of education is the top priority. With IDB´s invaluable support to the Leona Vicario community, in this joint effort we are undertaking, our youth has a firmer basis for their development; putting them in the path towards success,” said the Governor of Quintana Roo, Mexico, Félix González Canto.
The $500.000-plus project covers a broad range of facilities and activities developed together with international organizations, public and private sectors, and civil society. With the funds three sports complexes were rehabilitated, specifically a baseball field and two courts for indoor soccer, basketball and volleyball. Furthermore, a public library was reopened, the foundation stone of what will be the House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura) was laid and sports, cultural and volunteer activities took place.
“We are very thankful to all who contributed to this project because the renovation of these facilities supports parents in improving for the well-being of their children; and Leona Vicario progresses. Sports help youth both to be healthy and to guide their lives with disciplines that benefit their personal and professional development. When our children participate in programs that further their development, helping them overcome their limitations, they move away from risky behaviors like doing drugs and joining gangs”, said Oliva Medina Cab, Leona Vicario's Municipal Delegate.
The project for integral development in Leona Vicario is the result of a multi-sector alliance created with the goal of investing in the youth of Latin America and the Caribbean, where people younger than 30 years old represent 40 percent of the population.
“In the IIC we believe that strategic alliances, among the multilateral organizations, private and public sectors, and the non-profit organizations, for community activities, such as the Leona Vicario project, are key to the development of a socially responsible business sector in our region”, said Jacques Rogozinski, General Manager of the Inter-American Investment Corporation.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, about 33 percent to 68 percent of the youth between the ages of 15 and 24 have dropped out of school, and the youth unemployment rate exceeds 25 percent in most countries.
Through sports, young people improve their self-esteem and personal development, acquiring skills for life and work; which are ingredients that contribute to the sustainable development of the region.
“The only way that companies can be sustainable in the long term is by linking the chosen initiatives, projects and funding with the value chain and the business strategy, while fostering the economic and social development of the communities in which they are inserted”, said Pedro Padierna, President of Sabritas Mexico and SACC Region.
Among partners that joined the IDB, the IIC and the Government of Quintana Roo in this effort are the Sabritas Foundation, Gatorade Mexico, the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE – Mexico), Grupo Martí, CEMEX, Microsoft, MTV Latin America and Mastercard.
“Sports are, perhaps, the noblest public policy there is. The fostering of sports and physical activities is not related to political thoughts or stances, but it is the best tool to building a better and healthier society”, said Bernardo de la Garza, executive director of CONADE.
The activities in the community started with a series of personal finance workshops presented by Mastercard through its Intelligent Consumption refreshing program. Mastercard distributed financial education materials to workshop participants and will donate audio guides to the library so that the Leona Vicario community can continue to benefit from the educational program.
American football clinics were also offered by Gatorade’s Tochito Bandera Program and the National Football League (NFL), with the participation of former NFL players Rolando Cantú and Jack Brewer, and a soccer clinic was promoted with the A Ganar Program from the IDB/Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and Partners of the Americas.
The goal of the A Ganar Program is to increase the opportunities of inclusion for underprivileged youth in the job market. Following its success in three countries in the region, the program now incorporates several other countries. The US$8 million-plus project will benefit 5400 young people at risk or with limited resources between the ages of 16 and 24 in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Jamaica, Uruguay and the Dominican Republic. During the activities in Leona Vicario, the A Ganar coaches performed the first training of the program’s methodology in order to allow the community to implement this innovative and successful program.
The event took place within the context of the Global Youth Service Day and included the participation of NASCAR Mexico racer, Pepe Montaño; the goalkeeper of Club Atlético Atlante, Federico Vilar; Mexican Women's National Soccer Team player, Iris Mora; sailor Galia Moss; baseball player of Mexico City Red Devils and formerly of the Major League Baseball (MLB), Esteban Loiza; and weightlifting Olympic champion, Carolina Valencia Fernández. At the end of the day, there was a cultural celebration that highlighted the participation of youth through traditional dances with young people and arts exhibitions. A performance by the Colombian singer Fonseca closed the event. Fonseca, as well as two young leaders from the Leona Vicario community, received from the IDB and MTV an Agent of Change award for their community develpment contributions.
During the event, the IDB announced the launching of MTV SET, a new television program that is the result of its partnership with MTV Latin America. MTV SET will be a forum for dialogue and participation through which the youth of Latin America will be able to chat with experts about issues related to the reduction of poverty and sustainable development. This initiative, funded by the Korean Poverty Reduction Fund, will recognize the enthusiasm and contributions of thousands of young people who are assisting in the well-being of their communities in the region. This is another initiative of the IDB's commitment to the youth of Latin America and the Caribbean through its IDB YOUTH program.
AVAILABILITY OF MULTIMEDIA INFORMATION AND SATELLITE BROADCASTING:
FTP and MP3 files, videos, photos and documents. In addition, the IDB will provide satellite broadcasting of the event.
Gabriela Herrera, GabrielaH@iadb.org
Carla Coolman, CCoolman@iadb.org
For more information (in Spanish and English) go to: http://www.iadb.org/am/2010/
Inter-American Development Bank
The IDB is the largest development bank in the region and is also the oldest. It is the primary source of multilateral financing for fostering economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean region. The IDB’s Annual Assembly brings together the governors of the Bank, many of whom are finance ministers and presidents of the Central Bank of their respective countries, as well as representatives from multilateral financial institutions, development agencies, and commercial and investment banks. Public sector corporations and non-profit organizations also take part in these annual discussions. The IDB Youth program promotes youth development and participation in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Inter-American Investment Corporation
The IIC is a multilateral financial institution that is a member of the IDB Group. It provides financing (in the form of equity investments, loans, guarantees and other instruments) and advising services to companies in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IIC’s mission is to promote the economic development of its regional member countries by encouraging the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises, particularly those that are small and medium in size.
The National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE) is the governing body for public policy related to the promotion of sports and of physical activities of Mexico’s federal government. It is responsible for designing strategies and implementing them in cooperation with the states and sports federations with the goal of developing sports at the leisure and high-performance levels in Mexico.
Quintana Roo, the most dynamic state in Mexico and one of its youngest, is in first place in the country in the creation of new jobs, a result of its successful development of tourism. It has more than 80.000 hotel rooms that receive around 10 million tourists annually, which provide 34 percent of the income generated by tourism in Mexico.
Leona Vicario is a town in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, located 45 minutes from Cancun. The community has a population of about 15000 people, engaged mainly in agricultural activities. Leona Vicario is one of the oldest towns in what is today the municipality of Benito Juárez.
The Sabritas Foundation is a non-profit Civil Organization, with a large participation of volunteers from the Sabritas family and Gatorade throughout the country and voluntary contributions to support the Foundation's causes. In Mexico, PepsiCo group is composed of Sabritas, Gamesa-Quaker, Pepsi, Gatorade and Sonric’s, companies that together create more than 65000 direct jobs, with their presence in all the states in the Republic of Mexico.