For many children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), violence is part of their everyday lives. Every hour, three adolescents in LAC are killed due to gang violence or unsafe migration. LAC hosts four of the five countries with the highest child homicide rates in the world. It is also the region with the highest femicide rates, highlighting the problem of gender-based violence.
Forced and unsafe migration is an issue affecting millions of children in the region. Currently, there are two major migration crises: The movement from the Northern Triangle of Central America towards Mexico and the US, and the Venezuelan migration crisis. Children are vulnerable to human trafficking and smuggling with girls particularly vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation.
Access to quality and inclusive education is limited for the vast majority of the population unable to afford private schooling. While enrolment rates are high, quality of education and availability in indigenous languages are low. Opportunities for youth, particularly from marginalized indigenous and rural communities, are limited.
Availability of health services is scarce in large parts of the region. Indigenous and poor populations particularly suffer the consequences with higher child mortality rates than average. Migrants often have no access at all. Throughout the region, birthrates among adolescent girls from low-income families are multiple times higher than those from higher-income families. This increases their likelihood of dropping out of school.
We work across Latin America and the Caribbean to improve the lives of the most deprived children in the region. Our regional priorities are adolescents, migrant and displaced children, and children affected by violence.
Through our diverse range of programmes and projects, we empower children and adolescents by educating them on their rights. We also provide children and adolescents with tools to promote gender equality, reduce violence in their communities, and improve access to livelihood opportunities.
Our child protection work focuses on strengthening national and local, child protection systems and our education work targets both formal and community-based education. We are also responding to the Venezuela migration crisis with programmes that are supporting children and their families who have fled to Colombia and Peru.
We train community health workers to provide primary care, strengthen health capacities and provide sexual and reproductive health services to the most vulnerable. We also run nutrition programmes for children from rural communities most prone to malnutrition. Read more about what we do.
We operate through offices in 11 countries and have a regional office based in Panama. We also run programmes through partner civil-society organisations in countries where we do not have an office.
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