Representatives from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and partner organizations of the USAID Research in Education for Transformative Opportunities (RETO) project discussed during a webinar on Wednesday about the lessons learned regarding the use of evidence to prevent violence through education in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Young people (children and adolescents) can be both victims and perpetrators of violence in Latin America which, by multiple indicators, is considered the most violent region in the world. In the virtual session, the panelists shared evidence of what works in prevention and response to violence in educational contexts. The participant panelists included: Michael Lisman and María Delfina Flores from USAID; Ligia Aguilar from the IRC; Hilda Rosales from Fundación para la Educación Integral Salvadoreña (FEDISAL); German Moncada from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán (UPNFM); and Santiago Ávila from Jóvenes contra la Violencia Honduras (JCV HND).

The RETO team analyzed more than 80,000 studies in English, Spanish and Portuguese to identify gaps, opportunities, and to identify what works to prevent or respond to violence in educational contexts. The results were compiled into evidence syntheses that clearly indicate where there is strong evidence for certain interventions to effectively prevent or respond to violence in educational contexts. The types of interventions with the strongest evidence encompass: 

RETO was implemented by the IRC in cooperation with 12 national partners in Northern Central America to create demand for sustainable solutions for the prevention of violence affecting the youth through evidence-based policies and educational programs.

Additionally, RETO included the collaboration with 38 organizations from the educational, private, civil society, and youth sectors to gather findings. Furthermore, the project involved 485 young people in capacity-building programs for leadership and advocacy (based on available evidence) to promote their active participation as agents of change.