Improve Education and Access to the Labor Market of Low-income  Youth in San Salvador, El Salvador

Project location: EL SALVADOR, San Salvador
Project start date: October 2010 - Project end date: October 2011
Project number: 2010-26
Beneficiary: AMERICAN INITIATIVES FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION, INC

American Initiatives (www.american-initiatives.org) is a non profit, grant-making organization focused on empowering communities to create change through localized programs that encourage cultural, social, and professional development abroad. The small, dedicated staff will make sure that funds reach the people that need them most. And, since the Organization is able to benefit from the existing resources of its well-established partner, the Foundation for the Social Promotion of Culture (FPSC, www.fundacionfpsc.org) it has a small operating budget.
The goals are complete transparency and get results by:
Monitoring: a Project Manager will monitor budgeting, set goals, and work together with local cooperating organization, Asociación de Fomento Cultural y Deportivo (AFCyD) - Escuela Montemira, to ensure that the donation reaches its maximum potential and that resources are used efficiently and consistently.
Evaluation & Reporting: throughout the duration of the project, the organization tracks, analyzes and reports: who is reaching, how it is progressing, and where it is heading.

Reports are scheduled six months after the beginning of the project and three months after the end of the project. Mrs. Clara Gil Guerrero will work on the evaluation in behalf of American Initiatives together with Mrs. Claudia Noussette Chavez from our local partner organization, AFCyD.

In El Salvador, with regard to education, its access is mandatory and free in public primary schools; nevertheless the illiteracy and few years of study persist, it being more evident in the feminine and rural population. This responds to the early incorporation of children to the labor market and specifically in girls because of the same lack of education, they assume family responsibilities at an early age.
El Salvador has had to recover from the effects of a prolonged war and when it was trying to recover it faced a chain of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Micht in 1998, the earthquakes of 2001, hurricane Stan and a volcano eruption in 2005 worsening the situation. All these disasters caused great flaws in the infrastructure of the country leaving in evidence the conditions of vulnerability of the population, a balance of death, destruction and desolation, with concrete damages in the social and productive sectors, and to the environment. Added to all this the crisis in coffee prices in the early 2000´s and in the very present time the nonstop increase in oil prices that have an effect in the high cost of living, including the basic needs.

Different socioeconomic analysts agree that two of the main factors that cause poverty, are as follows:
- Low educative profile and deficient quality of the education.
Education is one of the main productive resources in which people can rely on. In El Salvador, nevertheless, the average of years of study is only of 6 years (8,3 in urban area and 3,9 in the rural area). Additionally, different evaluations indicate that the quality of education is very low in all the levels of study. Nationwide, women present a clear disadvantage in comparison to men.
In the urban area 12.5% of women are illiterate and 29.2% in the rural area, and men 7,0% in the urban area and 23,7% in the rural area.
- The uneven opportunities between men and women.
Women continue having fewer opportunities than men. They have an insignificant participation in decision making, perceive a substantially lower income than men, face greater difficulties to find a good job and most of their activities are related to taking care of their homes, which is not remunerated. The average wage for women is 28% lower than men and there is a difference in how women spend their salary and how men do. Women give priority to their family's basic needs; such as food, health and education; while men spend it mostly in their own personal needs (tobacco, alcohol, etc.). (Dygestic,Ministry of Economics).
The local partner for this project, the Asociación de Fomento Cultural y Deportivo (AFCyD), in order to help the Salvadoran families that find themselves in a vulnerable situation has decided, through Montemira School, to promote a boarding school with secondary and technical education for young women living in rural areas, so that they can have an opportunity to improve their quality of life, finding a good job after graduating or having further college or university education, breaking away from the vicious circle of poverty.
Since its establishment in 1962, Montemira School has managed to prepare a big group of young girls. They have been able to face their personal situation and respond to the demand and competitiveness of the country. Many of these young girls are working in hotels and other institutions and others have continued with their studies at university level.
AFCyD, through the school has the certainty that when educating the youth and making it possible for them to carry out a professional job, it is contributing in an effective way to solve the social problems that El Salvador faces and it has a chain reaction that motivates the families to look for new means for their children, thus contributing to the development of their communities.

The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project. The goals are explained below.

The girls are given uniforms, nutritious meals and snacks, articles for personal care and hygiene, school supplies and equipment. Since the families don't have enough money to cover the costs, they only pay a small amount as tuition. The baccalaureate degree obtained by the students is obligatory in the Salvadoran educational system and they are required to have finalized ninth grade in order to apply. The hospitality technical degree is not mandatory; nevertheless, certain subjects are incorporated by order of the Ministry of Education, as a pre-requisite to college education in this area. Montemira has a well structured administrative and operative department, responsible for the management of the school resources. It counts with highly trained personnel in the different areas such as: gastronomy, industrial laundry, housekeeping, textile techniques, and hygiene among others. In addition, during this formative process, the students´ moral values and human virtues are strengthened so that they become better persons and citizens.
BENEFICIARIES: 19 young women between 16 and 18 years of age. Most of these girls come from schools in rural areas where Montemira organizes events of promotion in agreement with the directors of school centers. Those interested, in agreement with their parents, must contact Montemira, usually through a phone call. They visit the school together with their parents to see the facilities and have first hand information regarding the type of education they can receive in Montemira School. Finally the girls are selected by an examination of attitude and an interview with parents.

PROJECT´S OBJECTIVES
Main Objective:
Contribute to the integral development of 19 young girls from very poor families, by means of obtaining an education and technical qualification for the improvement of their quality of life and that of their families and the communities from where they come from.
Secondary Objectives:
1. Provide 19 young girls of limited or none economic resources with secondary education and technical training in the industry of hospitality, so that they can obtain a worthy and well remunerated stable job, generating income.
Human Resources:
1 School Director, 1 Academic Director, 1 Technical Area Director, 1 Administrative Assistant, 3 Teachers, 3 Technical Instructors
Material Resources:
Promotional material, didactic material, materials and equipment for the technical practices
2. Provide the needs for room and board of 30 young girls for one year at the Montemira School.
Material Resources:
Articles for the students´ personal use and hygiene, nutritious meals and snacks
3. To strengthen the students´ moral values and human virtues so that they become better persons and citizens.
Material Resources:
Didactic material, School supplies

ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED
- Coordination with local governments, public schools and parishes of the rural area to let them know about the school's program.
- Planning of visits to hand out information (promotion).
- Visit areas where potential candidates for the school live.
- Distribution of information about the school.
- Interviews with interested parents of potential candidates.
- Interviews with candidates for the School.
- Carry out social economic study of the candidate's family.
- Overtake admission exams.
- Selection of beneficiaries.
- Inscription of beneficiaries.
- Development of theoretical classes.
- Development of classes and practice.
- Practice of the students in each technical area.

Montemira School has developed teacher and student´s manuals for each area of the hospitality industry, which have been reviewed and approved by experts in each area. These manuals are used as guides for the classes and practices that are given.

Anticipated achievements or outcomes of the projects
Results of Secondary Objective 1
- 19 girls of limited or none economic resources have completed one year of the Technical Baccalaureate Degree.
- 40 % of the girls that obtained the Degree, some have continued their studies at the university and others have found a job.
- 19 girls have achieved good health through a nutritious diet and their basic human needs have been covered during the year.
Results of Secondary Objective 2
- Increase of self-esteem and personal dignity. Better sense for overcoming difficulties.
- Improvement of their hygiene and overall habits.

To date, no indicators have been established and / or specific mechanisms for measuring this impact, however the results are rather qualitative and are evidenced in daily living: Increased communication and interaction with their peers and instructors, personal image, self-esteem, living out moral and human values, goals approach, positive attitude and dedication to work, among others.


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