Problem the program addresses: El Salvador is considered one of the most violent countries in the world with more than 6,300 homicides recorded between 2005 and 2013, primarily attributed to gang violence. In 2011, 12.2% of adolescents between ages 14 and 17 were neither working or studying, many of them involved in violence due to social exclusion, inequalities, and early exposure to violence. Such early exposure increases the risk of children and youth reverting to the same lifestyle. Coupled with a lack of services and access to educational opportunities, this leads to adverse effects on learning and socialization.
Description of the solution: This program aims to break the cycle of violence and educational exclusion by bringing together local actors in various municipalities to identify children and youth engaged in or at-risk of becoming engaged in violence who are not attending school and link them with local educational programs that support their needs and social well-being. The program works with community leaders, educators, parents, and civil society groups to identify out-of-school children. Each individual’s information is logged into a government database and then matched with local educational opportunities that have been identified and input into another database by schools and local government officials. The program includes the following components:
- Communities report out-of-school children to municipal managers and education developers to enter the appropriate information into the established database.
- Each case is followed up on, and the barriers to education for that individual are identified; families are encouraged to support their child/youth to attend school or an appropriate educational opportunity (for example, a vocational training program).
- Municipal governments and schools identify and populate a database for educational opportunities that is separated by location and capabilities.
- The child/youth is then linked to an appropriate educational opportunity that focuses on promoting participation, inclusive education models, and encouraging the participation of families.
- Community: The community is key in identifying and engaging out-of-school children and youth in identified municipalities. Community leaders are responsible for 1) organizing the reporting of individual children and youth who are out-of-school, 2) engaging families to ensure that they support their children in attending school, 3) following-up with individual cases, and 4) participating in school activities with families and children.
- Government: The local government is involved in the design, implementation, and monitoring of the program.The Ministry of Education provides support to new and alternative education programs through provision of space in schools. The program has been integrated into the strategy of the Municipal Committees for the Prevention of Violence. Additionally, each municipality has adapted its administrative structures to support the program, including designating a point-person to follow-up with the program and assigning physical space and equipment to support the project where necessary.
- Schools: Schools are integral in the support of this program as well as supporting the families and communities involved. Schools collect and provide municipalities with OOSC information from the communities. They are responsible for providing space to new and alternative education programs, as well as accommodating new students. In addition to space, schools are responsible for providing inclusive learning spaces for all children. Each school is expected to promote the program and community/school activities amongst teachers, families, and communities.
- Other: This program is implemented by OXFAM America, the Institute of Human Rights of Universidad Centroamericana Jose Simeon Canas, Leadership Center of the Escuela Superior de Economia y Negocios, Local Organization of Woman, and the Comite Olimpico de El Salvador.
Click here to see full program profile
CEI approaches in actionStudent supportIncreasing or sustaining enrollmentMentorship/internship/job placementParental/community engagement in support of studentsOut-of-School Children
The program is currently working in four municipalities: San Salvador, San Marcos, San Martin, and Santo Tomás, and plans to continue scaling by supporting more children/youth in these areas access educational opportunities.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
The program is monitored primarily through established online databases at the municipality level. The system reports the progress and results on:
- Data on individual OOSC collected by community members, schools, municipal managers, and education developers, including:
- Basic information: name, age, gender, address, phone number
- School information: individual reasons for leaving or not attending school, last grade attended in school, individual educational interests
- Family information: reference and contact information
- Education Indicators are collected at the municipal, school, and community levels to assess the improvement in numbers of children and youth accessing educational opportunities.
At the end of the program a qualitative evaluation will be conducted using interviews and focus groups with participants, institutions, and organizations involved in the program.