Creative highlights community change on International Youth Day 2014
Aug.12, 2014 – In celebration of International Youth Day on Aug. 12, Creative Associates International recognizes those who are working to provide opportunities and hope to young people, particularly those in conflict and post-conflict environments. (www.CreativeAssociatesInternational.com)
“Today’s youth are incredibly capable and resilient, and want to be part of positive change in their families and communities,” says Charito Kruvant, President and CEO of Creative. “I have been so impressed to see that everywhere Creative works, young people are not just involved in this change; they are leading it.”
Initiated by the UN in 1999, this year’s theme is “Youth and Mental Health.” The UN reports that while 20 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion youth aged 15 to 24 experience a mental health condition, only 20 percent of these young people receive the treatment they need.
Creative’s Youth Day Celebrations
Creative and the communities where it works are celebrating International Youth Day in a variety of ways.
In Honduras, for instance, on Aug. 10 an estimated 1,000 members of the Alianza Joven Honduras program marched through the Parque Central of San Pedro Sula wearing white and carrying banners with violence prevention messages.
The program—funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and other partners—empowers youth and their communities to prevent and confront violence in cities like San Pedro Sula, where more than three people are murdered every day. In 2013, the city held the highest murder rate in the world, outside of a war zone.
The Youth Against Violence movement, whose work across Honduras and other Central American countries is supported by USAID, hosted a workshop in the city of Comayagua on Aug. 9 to launch a new chapter of the group.
The workshop brought together representatives of local neighborhood groups, churches, educational centers, the Municipal Youth Office and fire department. On Aug. 12, in the cities of El Progreso and Choloma, chapters of the group will sponsor breakdance, percussion and musical performances and marches to celebrate International Youth Day.
With 37 years of implementing global development programs – particularly ones that improve education and strengthen communities – Creative is proud of its holistic youth-centered initiatives that equip those it serves to lead the way in addressing violence, poverty and unemployment, says Kruvant, one of the four women who founded the company.
For example, in its Nigeria Northern Education Initiative (NEI), funded by USAID, Creative worked with local communities to expand access to education for orphans and vulnerable children, with a focus on health, life skills and psychosocial counseling.
Only 60 percent of school-aged children in Nigeria have access to basic education and the situation is even worse in the north.
“When I traveled to northern Nigeria, I saw the overwhelming obstacles young people must overcome to get an education,” says Kruvant. “We are deeply committed to ensuring that youth in these challenging situations have access to education and the tools and opportunities for long-term success.”
In its more than four years, the NEI program boosted school enrollment in the northern states of Bauchi and Sokoto by 33 percent, with a 38 percent jump for girls, and empowered 16,000 orphans and vulnerable children with the tools to overcome the psychosocial trauma caused by conflict and contribute to their communities.
In Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama, Creative’s USAID-funded youth outreach centers have supported 43,136 young people in vulnerable communities by addressing the factors that make them vulnerable to violence. By the end of September, Creative will have 77 centers in El Salvador, bringing the total to 192 in Central America.
Dedicated to helping teenagers and young adults navigate the transition to positive adulthood in some of the most adverse environments, like Nigeria and Honduras, Creative recognizes the resiliency of youth and their neurological capacity to adapt and overcome trauma, which is supported by new research in adolescent brain development.
About Creative Associates International
Creative Associates International works with underserved communities by sharing expertise and experience in education, economic growth, governance and transitions from conflict to peace. Creative is the second-largest company owned by women that works with the U.S. government.
Based in Washington, D.C., Creative has active projects in more than 15 countries. Since 1977, it has worked in nearly 90 countries and on almost every continent. Recognized for its ability to work rapidly, flexibly and effectively in conflict-affected environments, Creative is committed to generating long-term sustainable solutions to complex development problems.