March 6, 2016

Using positive youth development to support adolescent students in El Salvador

Written by Ana Florez and Jim Hahn of FHI 360

Salvadoran students in a classroom

Photo credit: María José Valencia Merlos

In El Salvador, a lack of quality education and insufficient academic support have contributed to an increasing number of dropouts among lower secondary students (grades 7–9).

The country is plagued by one of the highest homicide rates in the world. This factor, when coupled with poverty, adds to the challenges the country’s youth face in order to succeed in school.

As part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Education for Children and Youth Program, FHI 360 has worked to transform mindsets to view youth in a positive way and support youth success in Salvadoran schools. The organization has done so by introducing local educators and stakeholders to positive youth development, a philosophy and approach that seeks to strengthen adolescents’ social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive and moral competencies, including many “soft skills.”

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