The projects “Sembrando Vida” and “Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro” reduce gaps and increase socioeconomic opportunities.
International cooperation for development promoted by the Mexican Government in Central-America prioritizes people’s welfare through the implementation of the projects Sembrando Vida and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro. These initiatives were preceded by the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) prepared by the Economic Commission for Latin-America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at the request of the Presidents of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, in December 2018.
The CDP is a diagnosis that lays the foundations to reinforce cooperation between these four countries and identifies the structural causes of forced migration from northern Central-America and south-southeast Mexico. Based on this approach, the Plan proposes a series of recommendations to make migration an option rather than a necessity. It is composed of 30 policy recommendations and 114 specific project proposals grouped into four pillars: economic development; social welfare; environmental sustainability, climate change and disaster risk reduction and adaptation; and integrated management of the migration cycle.
Sembrando Vida and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro are two of the hundreds of initiatives that have been replicated through South-South Cooperation (SSC) and Triangular Cooperation (TC) between Mexico and some of its Ibero-American neighbors.
Sembrando Vida seeks to contribute to food security and increase the productivity of families in rural areas, promoting the implementation of agricultural production systems and strengthening their development to address the multidimensional problems of the lack of income or the precariousness of these. Monthly financial aid was provided in the framework of this initiative, as well as support in kind for agroforestry production and technical assistance for the implementation of agroforestry systems (UNDP, 2022, p. 19).
Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro, on the other hand, aims to provide job training opportunities to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are not studying or working and who have been excluded from the formal labor market due to poverty, stigmatization or lack of access to education. In this case, monthly financial support was also provided, together with training in public, private or social work centers and an official certificate for the training received (UNDP, 2022, p. 21).
Mexico (through the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation, AMEXCID by its Spanish acronym) has transferred these experiences to El Salvador and Honduras, adapting them to the needs of each country.
The United Nations Development Program in Mexico (UNDP) recently presented the document “Our voices from below: Diagnosis of the results of the Sembrando Vida (Sowing Life) and Jóvenes construyendo el futuro (Young people building the future) projects in their beneficiaries in El Salvador and Honduras“, which identifies the economic and non-economic results perceived by the beneficiaries of both initiatives, based on surveys and qualitative interviews. Overall, the research identifies improvements in the quality of life and well-being of the beneficiaries of both initiatives.
Specifically, “an improvement in areas that affect the quality of life of the people, such as income and food; and an increase in the development of technical knowledge for cultivation, were reported in the framework of Sembrando Vida. An increase both in crop diversification and agricultural production also stands out” (UNDP, 2023). Given these results, this project is also being developed in Guatemala, Belize and Cuba, and will benefit approximately 21,000 people.
In addition, the diagnosis revealed Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro has represented “a first approach to the labor market, in addition to the fact that almost all the participants from El Salvador and Honduras considered they had developed some skill as a result of the project (…) which also represented an increase in their income”, favorably impacting the economic independence of young beneficiaries (UNDP, 2023).
The photographs of this Case were taken during 2021 with the support of AMEXCID, PIFCSS and SEGIB. They portray the faces and the experience of some beneficiaries who, through their own testimonies, show how these initiatives have contributed to an improvement in their quality of life.
Photos: Images from Sembrando Vida and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro. Image bank on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Ibero-America. SEGIB-PIFCSS. 2021.