Central American conference on violence reduction to feature 4 Creative experts
By Michael Zamba
June 7, 2016
A conference focusing on preventing crime and reducing violence in Central America will feature four experts from Creative Associates International, which has programs in three of the target countries.
Called the Regional Prevention and Education Conference, the two-day event is expected to draw 250 elected officials, policymakers, program implementers and the media to discuss best practices in these areas, as well as the development of an official conference declaration. It is part of the Central American Integration System (SICA in Spanish), an organization comprised of the region’s countries.
Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who will host the conference in Tegucigalpa as the chair of SICA, said in a prepared statement that Central American countries need to share their experiences of what works in crime and violence prevention and how they can be implemented elsewhere.
“During the conference, we want to share the successes of each one of these best practices that we have had in Honduras, which have led to a bringing about peace and tranquility and reducing the rate of delinquency,” President Hernandez said in a statement.
He called for a regional approach to reducing crime and violence.
Creative has been working in communities throughout Central America to develop techniques that engage both policymakers and communities in the prevention and reduction of violence.
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Proponte Más project will identify and work with 800 families and their youth ages 8 to 17 who are empirically at the highest risk of joining gangs. Using the Youth Service Eligibility Tool (YSET), youth are evaluated based on a series of nine risk factors at a family, peer and individual level domain.
It is based on a successful pilot of 100 families in the Honduran capital.
Salvador Stadthagen, the former Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United States and currently the head of Creative’s Alianza Joven Honduras project, will discuss community empowerment. Funded by USAID, the project has had significant results in the target communities with the highest concentrations of at-risk youth.
Joining Stadthagen on the community empowerment panel is Juan Jose Hernandez of Creative’s Crime and Violence Prevention Project in El Salvador. Hernandez is one of the leading developers of successful outreach centers in neighborhoods with high rates of crime and violence.
Fabian Bendersky, a clinical psychologist from Argentina and Creative consultant, will discuss how sports plays a role in supporting at-risk youth. He will be joined by a representative from the Youth Against Violence organization, which is supported by USAID and Creative.
In addition to its speaking roles, Creative is one of the sponsors of the Regional Prevention and Education Conference. Apart from the government of Honduras, the host, other sponsors include the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.N. Development Programme.