Proyecto Educativo Reyes Irene Valenzuela, Priv. (Reyes Irene Valenzuela Educational, priv.)
STRATEGIC PLAN FOR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT
Reyes Irene Valenzuela Project Strategic Plan for Youth Employment 2019-2021
STRATEGY FOR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT:
THE “REYES IRENE V.” PROJECT
The impetus for this project is found in the commitment of the Sociedad Amigos de los Niños (SAN; Society “Friends of Children”) to promote the wellbeing of Honduran children. Given that child labor is tied to children’s loss of parental guidance and protection, this organization concentrates its efforts on preventing and eradicating the worst forms of child labor, particularly domestic work by girls and female adolescents in private homes, which can endanger these young women.
This commitment has dovetailed with the entrance into law of [UN] International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention #182 and its Recommendation #190. At its outset, this project focused to a greater extent on female children and adolescents working as domestic laborers in private homes, rather than young women involved in the informal urban job market. However, both groups are involved in forms of labor that are unproductive and dependent, pay very poorly, and take place at the margins of labor law.
In social terms, the young people who are served in this program come from households that are poor or chronically poor (i.e. are comprised of persons earning less than US $1.20 per day). They live in precarious, sub-urban communities that are characterized by lack of access to public services and the social safety net, and that are plagued by violence and deadly criminal gangs, who control these communities and use them as bases for drug trafficking and other antisocial activities. In effect, more than half of the participants in this educational program live in barrios, colonias, and asentamientos that are considered very unsafe, violent, and hostile to the preservation of human life.
As part of a broader set of civil and governmental initiatives aimed at eradicating child labor, Reyes Irene has made significant contributions toward identifying and making visible the conditions, nature, and scale of domestic child labor performed by children for third parties. We have brought to light the great potential for the violation of individual rights, particularly in the form of exploitation of young girls in their places of work. These girls are invisible to the State, society, and other parties who would seek to help them. In 2002, the International Labour Organization/International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, Save the Children UK, and the Proyecto Reyes Irene Valenzuela together undertook the first study of domestic child labor in Honduras.
Based on research concerning groups of adolescent workers as well as other experiences in the region, our project worked to keep these young working women in school longer, in order to promote upward social mobility through formal education and professionalization. Reyes Irene developed a curriculum and skills-building program appropriate for this population, covering personal development (developing a culture of peace, conflict resolution, sexual and reproductive health, and human-, gender-based and other rights) and the employability of young workers. This curriculum was also grounded in the Honduran government’s National Basic Curriculum. This focus on early education institutionalized the project as a formal educational center, brought it under the authority of the Secretary for Public Education, and reduced this social support project’s operating and personnel costs. The education provided by the project is evaluated and certified by the ministry for education on terms of its delivery of basic education, Technical Professional Degrees (Bachilleratos Profesionales Técnicos; BTP), and employability.
Youth employment and personal development are the Reyes Irene Project’s two guiding principles, interacting dynamically to foster in each child the competencies, capacities, abilities, and skills necessary for successful insertion into the job market, through a curriculum oriented toward human development and aligned with the National Basic Curriculum.
The 2019-2021 Strategy for Youth Employment is based on the ideas of Brücke • Le Pont, is aligned with the Government’s efforts to reduce youth unemployment by facilitating their entry into the workforce through salaried labor, or through self-employment or individual or family-based entrepreneurship, and is consistent with national [and] international norms.
This Strategy is the result of a process of dialogue and participation with various institutional actors, and takes into account Brücke • Le Pont’s recommendations regarding employment, made during their most recent visit to the Reyes Irene Project.
2. Contextual analysis
a. Current situation and starting point
Youth unemployment in Honduras is a structural problem linked to the various economic, social, and political crises that have marked the country’s recent history. The current number of unemployment or underemployed youth is higher than at any time in our history. This has serious implications for the present and future of young people, particularly those under 29 years of age who live in poverty and lack the opportunities to fully achieve their personal goals. The young people who participate in the Reyes Irene Project are subject to the dynamics of labor in Honduras, which tend to threaten their social, economic, and cultural rights. In turn, these dynamics limit the country’s long-term economic growth potential, and institutionalize a climate of sociopolitical instability that limits young peoples’ personal development and possibilities of flourishing.
According to data for 2017 from the National Institute for Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística; INE), 78.3% of the country’s population is of working age (10 years or older), though the percentage of the population that is economically active is only 46.2%. While the total population includes persons younger than 10 years of age who as such are not considered active in the job market, Degree of Labor Participation (Tasa de Participación) is generally determined with reference to Working-Age Population (Población en Edad de Trabajar). This figure now stands at 59.0% nationally. However, the percentage is much higher for men than for women (76.0% versus 43.8%). Among men, those with the highest percentage of participation are between 35 and 44 years of age. In this segment of the male population only 3 of every 100 men are excluded from the job market; that is, 97% are working or are actively looking for work. By comparison, the highest percentage of female labor participation by age group is only 59.8%.
The 58th National Household Survey (Encuesta Permanente de Hogares de Propósitos Múltiples; EPHPM), for June 2017, estimates the number of working Hondurans at 3,819,978. Of these, 33.0% are employed in agriculture, 18.3% in commerce, and 13.6% in industry. Collectively, these three sectors account for 65.0% of employed persons in Honduras. According to the INE, a considerable number of Honduran workers, 46.0%, are salaried and have an employer, while 42.0% are self-employed. The remaining 12.0% work without receiving a salary.
Further, it should be noted that the national population is on the whole young, and that each working Honduran supports on average 2.3 dependents (Dependency Rate) .
In this social and economic context, self-employment and entrepreneurship represent an alternative to the uncertainties of salaried labor. In recent years the situation regarding available resources and other forms of assistance for opening small businesses (and by extension, for skills-building and successful insertion into the job market) have improved for young women in particular. It is vitally important that the young people associated with Reyes Irene are assisted in ways that allow them to successfully enter the job market.
b. Unemployment among the young
As a segment of the overall population, the young are defined as those between 12 and 30 years of age. According to data collected by the INE (EPHPM for June 2017), 3,250,408 Hondurans (36.7% of the total population) fall into this category. 1,589,892 (48.9% are men), and 1,660,516 (51.1%) are women. The unemployment rate is highest among young people; of the 273,496 Hondurans listed as unemployed, 59.0% are younger than 25 years of age. If unemployment figures are analyzed based on gender, they reveal that men enjoy a clear advantage in finding employment. This figure is nearly seven percentage points lower for men than for women (4.0% versus 10.8%). Similarly, men tend to find work more quickly than women: on average, men in Honduras spend 2.3 months looking for work, while women spend longer than 3.0 months.
The number of young people who neither work nor study has increased over the last five years. Nationally, 25.6% of young people are studying exclusively, and 48.5% work (this includes those who work exclusively and those who both work and study). But 26.0% of young Hondurans neither work nor study. This figure is consistent for urban and rural areas, implying that the impact of unemployment is similar between these areas.
Poverty has a particularly strong impact on children and young people, making it more difficult for individuals to meet their full range of basic developmental needs and severely limiting their human capital. According to data from the INE, as of June 2017 a total of 1,844,289 (21.0%) of Honduran households lived on 1 dollar or less per day. In rural areas, the number of households surviving on less than US $1.00 per day reached 38.8% (1,566,376). 38.8% of rural household in Honduras live on less than 1 dollar per day; that is, nearly 40 of every 100 rural households survives on fewer than 23 lempiras per day. On the other hand, the data also show that 65% of young participants in the project have no income. And only 26.6% of students report income, which ranges from 100 to 3,000 lempiras per month.
Analysis of the participants’ families reveals an economic situation that is consistent with that of the students, with 76% of families earning between 1 and 5,000 lempiras per month. Given this, and the fact that the median household size is 5.4 persons, it becomes clear that the scale of human need on the part of households exceeds the household members’ ability to work for their survival. The following graphic represents the poverty line from the perspective of the households of young people participating in the Reyes Irene project.
In sum, the population supported by this project is unable to satisfy a series of basic personal consumption-based, socioeconomic, and cultural needs. This can be described, in broad terms, as “a situational syndrome characterized by under-consumption, malnutrition, precarious living conditions, lack of education, poor sanitary conditions, difficulty finding employment or employment at the lowest wage levels, feelings of despondency and low self-worth, lack of participation in mechanisms for social integration and participation, and perhaps by adherence to a particular set of values that are distinct from those that guide the rest of society” (Altamir, 1970, quoted in INE 2017).
Our recent experiences observing household businesses have shown us that young people who participate in these activities feel a greater degree of emotional support from other family members. In bears noting that in these businesses, productive activities are undertaken collectively, which has the positive effect of promoting family integration around the household business.
In recent months, youth unemployment has gained public attention, along with the seemingly ceaseless flow of young people into lethal gangs involved in drug trafficking and organized crime, an increase in homicides committed by young women and men, and the massive caravans of Honduran migrants that are traveling to the United States. The government has dedicated resources to and created programs designed to help thousands of young people in desperate need of employment enter the job market. Further, certain Honduras-based NGOs provide training for small business owners and support for small business creation, and aid small businesses in terms of investment, provision of economic inputs and resources, and assistance in bringing products to market and accessing workers.
We should also mention more targeted efforts to promote family businesses in order to strengthen affective and emotional ties between household members, and to identify economic solutions for the poverty experienced by these households. Work within the family promotes family integration, a sense of socio-economic belonging, responsible parenting, the creation of a family identity and the articulate of collective goals aimed at achieving personal and group objectives.
Collectively, these benefits may work to alleviate the precarity and social discontent experienced by young people who are most severely impacted by poverty and who are at the greatest social risk. For our project, these benefits provide us with opportunities to coordinate new initiatives and promote work within families and within collaborative networks.
3. Instructional philosophy and operational context
a. Institutional philosophy
Our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, as it has been developed and as it will be put into practice from the conceptual, methodological, and operational perspective, focuses on rights, gender equity, and youth employment. In terms of gender equity, our plan seeks in particular to affirm the human rights of young women, in consonance with international and inter-American conventions on rights, which provide the context in which national legislation concerning women’s rights, particularly women’s labor rights and equality of opportunity, can be approved and implemented.
This focal area also accounts for the ways in which gender, social status, age, geography, access to decent employment, and disability or lack thereof intersect as factors of great importance in determining individual economic, social, cultural, and political possibilities and opportunities.
The starting point for a project that focuses on rights, gender equity, and youth employment is the analysis of the specific social/work-related and cultural problems faced by young women, in the context of gender inequality and structural violence against women in Honduras.
As such, the goal of eliminating cultural and gender-based barriers to decent employment for women determines the project’s objectives, strategic decisions, goals, and anticipated results, as well as strategies and benchmarks for monitoring and evaluation.
Honduras is a signatory of numerous international and inter-American agreements aimed at guaranteeing and protecting the human rights of women, and punishing instances of gender-based discrimination and violence. Of these international agreements it is worth mentioning the [UN] Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979), and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, more commonly referred to at the Convention of Belém do Pará (1994). Further, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified in 1989) provides for a new paradigm for national entities that protect and care for those under 18 years of age, and promote their participation in society. It defines the social, cultural, economic, and moral rights of male and female children and adolescents living all over the world. On the national level, relevant documents include the Labor Code (Código de Trabajo), Law for Opportunity (Ley de Oportunidades), and the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras. These legal instruments protect women from injustice, and assert women’s labor rights as well as their right to live free of all forms of violence.
b. Analysis of the Reyes Irene Valenzuela Project’s Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Threats – 2018
Internal (characteristics of the project) • Teaching focused on individuals rather than curriculum.
• Collaborations with governmental, international, civil society-based and academic entities are centered on the rights of young people.
• Pioneering work to eradicate domestic labor performed by minors.
• A solid, university-educated team of professionals dedicated to children’s educational needs.
• Positive teaching practices. • Available funds are insufficient to meet needs.
• Lack of retirement plan for team members.
• Lack of communications technology (loudspeaker, laptop, projector).
• Lack of funds to cover medications, medical treatment, and lab tests.
• Lack of a vehicle to provide for the project’s transportation needs.
• Project is not financially sustainable.
• Lack of workers trained in the field.
• Few resources available from conditional cash transfer programs.
External (contextual factors) • Increase familiar support through the “School for Parents” (Escuela para Padres) program.
• Organizations interested in investing in vulnerable groups.
• Some organizations interested in promoting decent working conditions for women from poor countries.
• Existence of educational programs that accredit alternative, informal education programs.
• Network of friends and associates (network of international donors to SAN). • Lack of government support.
• Lack of funding from conditional cash transfer to increase salaries.
• Increasing violence and delinquency in the neighborhoods of the girl and female adolescent workers who participate in the program.
• Proliferation of criminal gangs.
• Increased violence against women (misogyny).
c. Strategic Dimensions of the Plan
The principal dimensions of this plan are all concerned with fostering workplace, social, communicative, and administrative capacities and skills. The Reyes Irene Project is dedicated to developing and reinforcing broad capacities, in line with our project model. These include:
• Understanding labor and capital markets, as well as production processes
• Positive interactions with young people in positions of vulnerability
• Capacity for self-reflection, self-analysis, and evaluation of one’s abilities
• Positive workplace behavior
• Critical thinking
• Conflict resolution
• Activity planning
• Searching for, understanding, and systematizing information
• Organizing, planning, and evaluating work
d. Components of the Strategic Plan
Planning begins the moment the Plan’s strategic dimensions become operative. Planning here entails the Plan’s principal components, and its stages of implementation and necessary features, as well as the development of necessary capacities in the young women who participate in the project, in line with the project’s objectives and general logistical concerns.
This component is concerned with empowering the young women who participate in the project, and reducing their degree of vulnerability, through an interactive, participatory, and play-based teaching methodology. During this stage young women develop capacities, and increase their self-knowledge in the context of school, family, the world of work, and community. They develop a plan for entering the workforce and develop skills that will help them successfully find work and/or continue their education.
This component is key to the project and is reinforced throughout a young woman’s time in the program. We work with each young woman to identify and/or create opportunities for employment, and to match them with other young people through the PIL Young women complete this training and then begin pursuing employment or further education.
Monitoring and evaluation
As in any project that seeks to work effectively, the Reyes Irene Project will be monitored and evaluated for its results and impact not only at the conclusion of the process, but continuously, in order to document its successes, failures, and problems so as to identify areas of opportunity, to learn, and to reinforce the aspects of the project that are functioning properly.
e. Pillars of the Plan
The four pillars of the strategic plan correspond to the areas of strategic intervention identified for 2019-2021. These pillars, or axes, are based on ideas taken from the UN Youth Employment Network, the World Bank, and the ILO.
The State designs, implements, and evaluates policies and public programs aimed at raising income levels and reinforcing systems that protect vulnerable women and families. Training for employment and programs aimed at helping women enter the workforce are at the heart of these social policies. NGOs also contribute to the effort to foster inclusion and promote youth employment through projects and by participating in Honduran government efforts (through the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the Secretariat of Development and Social Inclusion and other relevant bodies), thereby creating spaces for consultation and dialogue between social actors.
The Reyes Irene Project focuses its efforts developing young women’s labor-related capacities and skills in order to improve their living conditions and meet the demands of the job market. To this end it designs and implements programs and educational curricula in collaboration with the private sector, the Ministry of Education, and civil society organizations. Further, it promotes a positive attitude toward learning, as well as human rights, conflict resolution, sexual and reproductive health and a culture of peace, thereby adding value to its effort to promote youth employment through education.
The objective of this component of the project is to promote a culture of entrepreneurship in young women and support the efforts of young female entrepreneurs and their families, thereby contributing to the creation of new businesses and jobs for young people.
The long-term goal here is to bring young women’s perspectives to the job market and the economy, so that they can see starting a business as a viable, alternate economic path.
4. Planning for the Future: The Reyes Irene Valenzuala Project (PRIV) Strategic Plan/2019-2021.
Desired result. Indicator
Strategic objective of the Plan.
Promote access to the job market for young women who live in poverty, through entrepreneurship, and vocational and technical training.
Short-term objectives of the Plan.
1. Promote access to the job market through effective use of the PIL, professionalism, and collaboration with the private sector, civil society, and governmental entities.
2. Promote and increase access to vocational training, training in self-help, and relevant and high-quality formal education for young women participants.
3. Promote entrepreneurship among young women participants and support their entrepreneurial efforts.
4. Facilitate the creation of small businesses by family members of young women participants.
Specific objective No. 1: Promote access to the job market through effective use of the PIL, professionalism, and collaboration with the private sector, civil society, and governmental entities.
Desired result. Metric.
Desired result 1.1
1.1. Sustained support for young women to access the job market.
a. 50% of the young women who complete the program in the 2019 fiscal year have access to decent, better-paying employment.
b. Work in groups, for the purpose of sharing experiences and promoting learning, is initiated and is functioning for the 2019-2021 period.
c. A campaign focused on promoting Policies of Social Responsibility in light of Youth Unemployment, aimed at the private sector, is developed for 2019-2021.
d. A guide for best practices in terms of POLICIES OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, focused on youth employment, is published.
Specific objective No. 2: Promote and increase access to vocational training, training in self-help, and relevant and high-quality formal education for young women participants.
Desired result 2.1
Design a professional training program for unemployed young women.
a. 100% of the young women who complete the program in the 2019-21 fiscal period receive technical job training through the Youth Employment program.
Specific objective No. 3: Promote entrepreneurship among young women participants and support their entrepreneurial efforts.
Desired result 3.1
Promote relevant entrepreneurship initiatives directed toward young women living in poverty. a. 10% of the young women who complete the program in 2019 create small businesses and/or individual or family-based microenterprises, increasing their income.
b. 20% of the young women who complete the program in 2020 create small businesses and/or individual or family-based microenterprises, increasing their income.
c. 50% of the young women who complete the program in 2021 create small businesses and/or individual or family-based microenterprises, increasing their income.
d. Offer 4 annual workshops to provide continued training, assessment, and skill-building for young women who are engaged in entrepreneurial activity.
e. Offer 3 Youth Entrepreneurship Fairs during 2019, 2020, and 2021, directed toward young women and focusing on markets for goods and services.
Specific objective No. 4: Facilitate the creation of small businesses by family members of young women participants.
Desired result 4.1
Facilitate workforce training for family members of project participants. a. Offer workshops on business creation to the families of the young women who participate in the project in 2019.
b. A network of fathers and mothers of participants organizes meetings during 2019.
c. At least 5 microenterprises are functioning by the end of 2019.
5. Monitoring and evaluation.
The 2019-2021 strategic plan will be executed through 2021 via a series of operative plans. It follows that the necessary technical and financial resources, supplies, and working methods must be marshalled in order to fully meet the Institutional Strategic Plan’s central objectives.
In the overall context of the strategic plan, “monitoring” will be defined as the systematic collection of information relevant to the implementation of those activities in the Entrepreneurship Program’s POA.
Monitoring of entrepreneurship-related activities will be carried out through a yearly operative plan that will include objectives, outcomes, metrics, activities, timeframes, and responsibilities for all ongoing activities. In order to capture this progress, information related to employability will be presented in comparison both to employment-related data taken at the outset, and to data for a desired activity endpoint.
A Monitoring Plan has been elaborated, and includes several opportunities for data collection.
5.1. Plan for Monitoring and Evaluation (P-M&E)
The M&E Plan is the fundamental instrument for monitoring and evaluating the employment program. It is a resource designed to assure the achievement of the project’s objectives by tracking data collected in the course of the project, along with results and impact.
The measures included in the plan include: objectives, activities, metrics, means of verification, timeframe, and responsible parties. These measures are determined in the following three stages:
a. Determination of employment program metrics in line with project goals, objectives, activities, and resources.
b. Determination of means of verification for these metrics.
c. Determination of responsible parties.
The metrics included in this Plan for Monitoring and Evaluation have been determined in accordance with the methodology and concepts previously described, and correspond to the conceptual and methodological framework of the Logical Framework (Marco Lógico).
Further, we have utilized the SMART strategy, selecting metrics for Reyes Irene’s employment project that are SMART. In order for a metric to be considered smart, it must be:
a. Specific: concretely show what is seeks to measure
b. Measurable: adequately measure desired activities or changes
c. Appropriate: logically relate to relevant objectives and strategies
d. Realistic: can be measured with available resources and capacity of responsible parties
e. Temporal: can be measured within a feasible timeframe
After defining the metrics to be including in the monitoring Plan for a programmatic activity, it should then be determined if each metric:
• Clearly specifies what it seeks to measure
• Is clearly measurable
• Is relevant and corresponds to Reyes Irene’s objectives for its youth employment program
• Finally, can be measured given available economic resources and the team’s relevant experience
5.2. Instruments for Monitoring and Evaluation
As stated above, the program’s instruments for monitoring and evaluation are technical tools designed to assess whether the desired results for the activities defined in the POA are achieved.
The P-M&E will utilize social research techniques, which may be qualitative or quantitative, depending on the nature and characteristics of each metric. Below we describe the most relevant research techniques, and those that in the context of the M&E plan have been selected to measure successes, failures, and challenges on the way to meeting the objective spelled out in the POA.
a. Semi-structured interview
The objective of this technique is to collect qualitative information about a given group of people, or key people, in the context of youth employment. Semi-structured interviews will be guided by a script consisting of open-ended questions that will allow the interviewee to share detailed information pertaining to youth employment. The script will include elements relating to the measures of project progress and desired results. Prior to this detailed interview, the interviewee should give his or her written, informed consent to be interviewed. Persons to be interviewed may include direct supervisors of the young female participants in the professionalization program, parents in families with small businesses, and young women who have created microenterprises or who have successfully entered the job market.
b. Focus groups
The objective of this research technique is to collect qualitative (non-statistical) information that is diverse and in-depth with regard to the project’s measures. Each focus group will be planned in advance, with the group’s objectives, meeting time and place, number of participants, set of questions, and facilitators with specific roles all pre-determined, along with the process of transcription, tabulation, codification, categorization, and analysis of the information shared in these conversations. The person responsible for coordinating a focus group must have deep knowledge of the topics to be discussed, as well as prior experience and skills in managing meetings, speaking clearly, and guiding the discussion according to the group’s particular dynamic; if these criteria are not met, the facilitator will have lost an opportunity to collect valuable information.
The focus groups will ideally consist, in general, of persons whose answers will be of interest in terms of the project measures. All participants will be members of targeted population groups (8 to 12 persons is ideal), and will be brought together to discuss a particular theme in depth. The facilitator should first share a discussion guide that will feature the key themes to be discussed with the group. Prior to the discussion, all participants should give their written, informed consent to participate. The participants should be able to sit comfortably in a circle. It is strongly recommended that a recording device be used to register the statements and exchanges included in the conversation, which should not exceed one hour (60 minutes).
c. Field observations
Field observations can be undertaken during educational or training activities, in the workplace, during other activities undertaken by the participants, or in visits to businesses or other places of employment. At any rate, the measures consulted will determine the sites of observation. The observer should note in his or her documents, guide, or field diary his or her principal observations regarding the sort of work done by the young entrepreneur. These observations should be compiled in reports, and can also be used in meetings or for project supervision in order to monitor the sorts of economic activities undertaken by program participants and their families.
d. Case studies
This research technique consists of qualitative examination within the general context of a model meant to describe successful cases of young women and groups of impoverished, marginalized women who have entered the job market and arranged decent work. This forms part of Reyes Irene’s strategic to alleviate poverty and promote democracy and human rights through participation in the job market. Through monitoring, individual and collective economic successful stories will be identified, which will inspire further action on behalf of labor inclusion.
Each monitoring period will conclude with the writing of a detailed report that registers the achievements, problems, obstacles and improvement plan of the entrepreneurial activity undertaken.
This report will contain inform that will be important in making the decisions and adjustments necessary to ensure that the program’s strategic objectives are achieved.