Adolescent Development and Participation
Investing in adolescents and young people to build a brighter future for themselves and their communities
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In Latin America and the Caribbean, 106 million people are experiencing the second decade of life. These are adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 who are facing physical changes, building social relationships and shaping emotional and mental skills decisive for their development. This phase is essential in defining who they want to be in the world, who they can become, and what they fear to be.
Adolescence provides a second window of opportunity for positive development. Where they live, the support and encouragement they receive, and their community and individual experiences have a direct impact on how these adolescents respond to life.
Critical issues affecting adolescents and young people in Latin America and the Caribbean
Every day, adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean encounter barriers to developing their full potential. Predominant challenges in the region include a rising rate of youth violence; one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world; unaddressed physical and mental health needs, and limited opportunities to develop skills needed to succeed in school, life and for the transition from school to work.
The pandemic of COVID-19 amplified the already present vulnerability faced by adolescents and young people in the region. One of the most significant consequences was the disruption of education which, intensified by a digital divide, became the largest in history.
What do we do?
Support adolescent's agency and participation
to promote their positive development so they can influence the environments in which they live. We engage adolescents and youth in safe spaces where they gain the skills they need to become agile, adaptive citizens and can raise awareness of the issues that concern them, bringing ideas into action.
Strengthen efforts in transforming social norms and behaviors,
and foster strong connections and communications between adolescents, parents, communities, and institutions. Adolescence is often seen as rebellious and difficult to deal with. However, in a favorable environment, adolescents can thrive and positively impact the communities where they live.
Enhance systems for an integral approach to adolescent development.
Due to their rapid intellectual, emotional, and physical development, adolescents have different needs than children and adults, posing a distinctive challenge for public policies, services and delivery platforms. It is vital to address the full range of adolescents' needs and consider their age and gender across sectors (including education, health, violence prevention, protection, and a clean environment).