Alys Willman, PhD, is a Social Development Specialist for the Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team at the World Bank. She leads analytical work and project support on violence prevention and trauma. She is the co-author of Violence in the City (2010), and Societal Dynamics and Fragility (2013), and has authored numerous articles and reports on violence and illicit economies. Prior to joining the World Bank she worked with NGOs in five Latin American countries, and taught at The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs. She is also a volunteer sexual assault counselor at the DC Rape Crisis Center.
Community-based Strategies to Reduce Youth Violence
The growing population of youth in developing countries is often seen as a threat to stability, and indeed, youth have often been protagonists in social and political unrest. Youth violence has often been considered a result of unemployment or idleness, leading to blanket responses providing (mostly temporary) employment for youth. These programs have often limited success because they do not address the complex driving factors for youth violence or the intergenerational tensions that reinforce stigma against youth.
My talk will give an overview of what the World Bank has learned through our growing investment in youth-oriented projects, especially those with a violence prevention focus. I will describe how the Bank's general approach to youth is evolving from a focus on (mostly temporary) employment toward more integrated interventions that address the various drivers of youth exclusion and violence, as well as intergenerational tensions that reinforce stigma against youth. While evidence on impact is still scarce, there are indications of some promising practices, especially when targeted activities are combined with interventions to address underlying structural factors.