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Telmex Telcel and Western Union foundations join forces with WPDI to empower youth from the States of Chiapas and Baja California as engineers of peace and prosperity in their communities

We are proud to announce that we have just entered a new partnership with Telmex Telcel and Western Union Foundations to improve conditions for lasting peace and sustainable development in vulnerable areas of Chiapas and Tijuana in Mexico. The objective of the collaboration is to empower young people from these areas by mentoring 200 of them as peacemakers and entrepreneurs and to mobilize our community learning centers to equip another 7,000 with skills in ICTs and entrepreneurship, which will increase their capacity to finds jobs and make a difference in their communities in general. 

Activities under the partnership will take place in the context of our flagship program, the "Youth Peacemaker Network" (YPN). This groundbreaking program provides opportunities for youth in conflict- and violence-affected environments to increase their participation in the civic, socio-economic and cultural life of their communities. This is a tried and tested program already implemented in Africa, in South Sudan and Uganda. These places may seem quite different from Mexico in the first place but they actually share somber characteristics as harboring places where armed violence has left and still imposes a deep imprint in the social fabric of local communities. One main victim is the youth of these places: whether the armed violence is caused by gang wars or civil strife, young people are often treated as capable of being only victims or perpetrators of violence. This is a double curse since it often means that the young people of violence-impacted communities will be abandoned to themselves in the present and barred from contributing to the future of their country. 

Young people are viewed very differently by WPDI. To us, they have the power to engineer change and transform their communities from the inside. What they need, we believe, is trust from the adult world, which means that we must have the courage to trust them with responsibilities and resources. Our vision is that young people can be instrumental in promoting peace and sustainable development in their communities. In a first phase, we will enroll a group of highly-talented young people from vulnerable areas in Chiapas and Tijuana. Once trained, they will go back into their communities and develop projects with hundreds of local young people, including income-generating projects, twelve of which are planned under the partnership with Telmex Telcel and Western Union foundations. We will also establish community learning centers in these two areas, fully equipped by our partner Ericsson, where young people and others will have access to computers, connectivity to access online resources and daily certified training programs in conflict resolution, arts & crafts as well as vocational trainings in entrepreneurship and ICTs, which will increase their employability.

We salute Telmex Telcel and Western Union foundations who have chosen to endorse our vision. This is a long-term commitment since we are going to work with these young peacemakers and entrepreneurs for the next three years. In the end, this is an investment in a future of opportunity for the youth of Chiapas and Tijuana.