Violence is one of the greatest challenges facing youth in El Salvador today. By 2011, gang activity and organized crime had entered more than 300 schools across the country, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). To prevent school violence, FHI 360 has conducted a series of week-long study tours as part of the USAID Education for Children and Youth Program, which has been working in El Salvador since 2013.
To date, three tours have brought approximately 50 principals, Ministry of Education officials and other education stakeholders to Washington, DC, to explore best practices for improving the educational opportunities for Salvadoran youth living in areas with high rates of violence. The tours promote positive relations between the U.S. and El Salvador and specifically aim to strengthen Salvadoran society through secondary education reform. Participants have explored models for combating high education dropout rates, preventing school violence and creating safe spaces for youth.
The large Salvadoran population in Washington, DC, provides a unique opportunity for the participants to learn how youth from El Salvador and of Salvadoran descent are faring in U.S. schools.