Youth violence

Youth violence

Strengthening young people - reducing violence

All over the world, young people are both perpetrators and victims of violence. The reasons for this are complex. Project experience shows: one must start at the personal as well as the political level.

A female employee together with young people.
Young people at a meeting by one of our partner organisations. - © terre des hommes switzerland

Every year, around 200,000 children and young people between the ages of 10 and 29 are killed worldwide. Globally, young people are the most affected by violence. El Salvador, Brazil and Colombia are among the countries with the most murders of young people. There, terre des hommes schweiz supports youth projects in which young people campaign for a culture of peace.

Various causes
In the urban slums of Latin America, gang crime is the greatest challenge. It has many causes: Poverty and unemployment are an important breeding ground. Without educational opportunities and prospects for a better life, frustration and the propensity to violence increase. Children and young people also experience violence in their own families, at school and on the streets. And they experience it as a successful strategy for asserting themselves. Those who are neglected at home, excluded and humiliated by others become aggressive and prone to becoming violent themselves.

Young people organize a circus parade with stilts, burning torches etc.

No blanket solutions
Unilateral approaches to solutions are not enough in these societies marked by violence. The work of terre des hommes schweiz in its projects for the prevention of violence therefore starts at several levels: with the young people themselves, in their direct social environment and at the political level. Actively dealing with the history of violence is an important step for young people to break the spiral of violence. With professional support, they work through their traumatic experiences in the family and the discrimination they experience in their environment.

Active participation strengthens the feeling of togetherness
Youth social workers in the projects offer psychological and social support to risk groups as well as assistance in finding a school place or apprenticeship. Social and artistic group activities strengthen the self-confidence of the young people and their sense of belonging as well as the social cohesion in the neighbourhood. In the groups they learn to build relationships of trust. Through their active participation they perceive themselves as actors for positive change.

Young women hold up posters as they walk through the streets.

Young people raise their voices against violence
The young people raise their voices against violence with documentaries and radio programmes. They use public events to lobby for government agencies to provide more money for social programmes and better training opportunities for young people.

Example projects for youth violence

Black Youth and Political Participation - Partner Organisation CIPO in Brazil -> Video on CIPO on Swiss television in the Sendung Mitenand. Alternatives for living away from crime - Partner organisation Paz y Bien in Colombia
Blue background, white dove of peace and the words peace, justice and strong institutions

Agenda 2030 - Development Goal 16

This part of the project work relates to the fulfilment of sustainable development goal 16 of Agenda 2030 (UNO).

The content of the target:
"Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, ensure access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels".


Andrea Zellhuber
Development policy and thematic responsibility culture of peace
061 335 91 52 | andrea.zellhuber(at)terredeshommes.ch
Andrea ZellhuberDevelopment policy and thematic responsibility culture of peace

061 335 91 52 | andrea.zellhuber(at)terredeshommes.ch

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