SICA: Promoting employment and preventing youth violence (CaPAZ)

Project description

Title: Promotion of Youth Employment and Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Young People for the Prevention of Youth Violence (CaPAZ)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Country: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala
Lead executing agency: General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA) 
Overall term: 2020 to 2025

Young people in Guatemala boost their self-confidence and assuredness in a virtual course on ‘English for Working’. Copyright: GIZ / CaPAZ


Violence is widespread in the Northern Triangle of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have the highest murder rates in Latin America. Inequality and discrimination are structurally entrenched in these countries.

Young people between the ages of 14 and 29 make up the majority of the population. Youth unemployment and a lack of opportunities pave the way for risky behaviour such as irregular migration or recruitment by youth gangs. Countries in Central America are thus promoting youth employment to mitigate these risks.

In practice, however, vocational training and job placement often fail to reach young people in contexts of violence. In some cases, youth gangs prevent them from leaving their communities, while potential employers are quick to label them as ‘criminal’. Young people, teachers and trainers therefore often suffer from high psycho-emotional stress.


The psychosocial resilience and employability of young people have improved in communities with high levels of violence. Young people thus develop valuable psychosocial and technical skills that open up alternatives to the violence and crime prevalent in their communities.

The Jóvenes SI+ campaign with the private sector highlights the potential of young people. Copyright: GIZ / CaPAZ


The project addresses the problem of high rates of crime and limited education opportunities in three fields of action:

It strengthens staff and services in vocational training and labour market placement with mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) approaches.

It creates better conditions for vocational education and training opportunities for youth in communities with high levels of violence.

It promotes private sector participation in intersectoral networks. This is intended to reduce discrimination against young people in communities with high levels of violence.

The political partner is the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA), and the implementing regional partner is the Secretariat for Social Integration of Central America (SISCA). The project cooperates with municipal governments, vocational training institutions, ministries of labour, social affairs and education, three civil society organisations (FUSALMO, CADERH and Fe y Alegría) and selected companies and chambers of commerce.

Last updated: August 2022

Young people in Honduras raise awareness about violence prevention. Copyright: GIZ / CaPAZ