Usted está aquí

Read the Spanish version


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works with many partners in Latin America and the Caribbean, and across the globe, to advocate for and support practical actions to end child marriage, prevent teenage pregnancy and promote gender equality and the empowerment of girls, adolescents and women.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, an estimated 165 million people are between the ages of 10 and 24. This means that every four people in the region are young. By investing in them we are investing in the world’s future.

UNFPA’s ‘Skills for Life’ programmes empower and expand access to critical services like education and healthcare for young girls across Latin America and the Caribbean. These programmes are aimed at helping girls from 8 to 17 years old to successfully navigate adolescent transitions, and to make informed decisions and life choices that will shape their future and the future of their communities.

While both adolescent girls and boys experience challenges in making life choices, including about marriage, girls continue to face increased socio-economic barriers and vulnerability. Life skills, when effectively delivered, can be considered a powerful tool for achieving adolescent empowerment.

Why do we need to empower girls?

The ‘Skills for Life’ programmes support and empower girls in the region to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, that build their sense of personal worth and agency, and that teach them to interact with others constructively and effectively, with a transformative potential. In fact, different types of skills have been shown to reinforce each other. For example, an adolescent girl with good social skills is more likely to apply herself to acquiring cognitive skills, as well as to have positive relationships in her life.

Thus, even though personal empowerment is considered an outcome of implementing life skills, it is also a process that can facilitate achievement of cognitive and social skills. For example, making informed choices, setting plans and goals, communicating, collaborating and negotiating, which are necessary skills to achieve transformational change in their lives, families, communities and countries.

Empowered adolescents recognize their inherent worth and the fundamental equality of men and women, boys and girls. They critically examine their lives and the inequalities in their societies. They participate civically and make personal and public choices to act for the improvement of their lives and their world.

Unidas Crecemos (Together We Grow) - Mexico

© UNFPA Mexico

Unidas Crecemos is an initiative promoted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Mexico, in collaboration with strategic partners who have decided to invest in adolescent girls because they recognize them as agents of change for their own lives and the communities to which they belong.

It was born in 2015 as one of UNFPA's core strategies, based on the revision and adaptation of the methodology ‘Abriendo Oportunidades’, designed by the Population Council and implemented jointly with UNFPA for 12 years in Guatemala, that has reached more than 8,000 adolescent girls in this period.

Unidas Crecemos seeks to strengthen the citizenship of adolescent girls and facilitate their access to education and health services. To achieve this, groups are created in public community spaces, where the girls are provided with training workshops on topics such as human rights, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, and violence prevention, among others.

In addition, the project promotes a community work strategy that involves local government authorities, teachers and families, in order to coordinate efforts to promote the development of adolescent girls and facilitate an environment in which their human rights are respected.

Fabricando Sueños (Creating Dreams) - The Dominican Republic

© UNFPA Dominican Republic

The Fabricando Sueños girls' clubs are an initiative promoted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Dominican Republic, in collaboration with strategic partners who have decided to invest in adolescent girls, recognizing them as agents of change for their lives and for their communities.

It is aimed at girls from 8 to 11 years old and adolescents from 12 to 15 years old who participate in weekly meetings in a safe space in their communities where they learn, through thematic content sessions, crafts and games, to live together, have fun and create support networks.

The activities are coordinated by a young woman from the same community, called a mentor, who provides close accompaniment to girls and adolescents and facilitates the sessions through a curriculum guide that consolidates the approach to human rights, gender, interculturality and youth approaches. These sessions provide them with tools to:

● Prevent pregnancy and early unions

● Increase their self-esteem and your identity

● Expand their network of friends

● Recognize themselves as a subject of rights and lose your fear of participating

● Access local health and protection services

● Identify gender-based violence

Fabricando Sueños empowers girls and adolescents and presents them with the possibility of developing a life project other than motherhood and pregnancy, through safe, scientific and efficient tools to strengthen their citizenship, preparing them for an independent and violence-free life.


Ñañangareko: Fighting the abuse and pregnancy in girls and adolescents - Paraguay

© UNFPA Paraguay

Ñañangareko is a national communication campaign in Paraguay aimed at girls, boys, adolescents and their families, which seeks to denature early unions and sexual abuse, providing information on sexual and reproductive rights, where to go in case of sexual abuse, where to report it , promotion of training opportunities and scholarships, services available for adolescents and young people, among other topics.

Ñañangareko, which in Guaraní, the official language of Paraguay, means We protect all and all together.

The campaign considers that a pregnant girl is an abused girl, because her rights are violated by the situation of pregnancy at this stage of life. To face this reality, it proposes to prevent early pregnancy with the following strategies:

  • Talking
  • Educating
  • Reporting cases of sexual abuse.

Ñañangareko proposes to involve and strengthen families in their role as guarantors of the rights of girls and adolescents and the communities in the prevention of sexual abuse and adolescent pregnancy. The campaign also urges citizens to be part of the solution by reporting any case of abuse on lines 147 (Fono ayuda) or 911.

 According to the Public Ministry, there is an average of 8 complaints of sexual abuse of children and adolescents per day in Paraguay. 80% of reported cases of violence and sexual abuse come from the family environment.

Abriendo Oportunidades (Open opportunities) - Guatemala/Belize

© UNFPA Guatemala

The Abriendo Oportunidades program is designed to offer new opportunities for development to indigenous girls, adolescents and young women in rural areas of Guatemala. Participating in the program reinforces the link with the school, motivates them to continue their studies at the elementary and middle school level, they receive support in their personal training, and, in addition, they are linked to a program of social projection within their community, and they have a first work and entrepreneurial experiences. The training of these young leaders benefits other people within the community: parents of the girls, adolescents and young people who participate in the program, community leadership and the community. The program seeks to contribute to their integral development while respecting their particular characteristics: being girls, adolescents and young women, indigenous people and inhabitants of rural areas.

The program carries out three types of activities with the participating groups, dividing the sessions between play activities, productive activities and the development of relevant topics for the personal and educational training of the girls and young people who participate. All these activities are integrated into a curricular guide with activities to work on these issues, adapting to the characteristics of girls, adolescents and young people in the community in the groups of 8 to 12 years and 13 to 15. The Abriendo Oportunidades program has promoted development of girls, adolescents and young women together with themselves and with the communities, transforming the imaginary and reality to make it more inclusive.


EscuelAfro - Latin America and the Caribbean

© UNFPA Latin America and the Caribbean

The School of Afro-descendant Youth Leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean - EscuelAfro, is a program of Ashanti Peru, with the support of the Regional Office of the United Nations Population Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNFPA), which aims to strengthen the Afro-descendant movement in the Americas.

It focuses on the training of young political and social representatives in effective strategies of participation and political incidence in decision-making spaces at the local, national and international levels, which contribute to the fulfillment of the international commitments of the States of Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular, the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development, the Nairobi Declaration on the ICPD25, the Program of Activities for the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

For two months, more than 50 young people of African descent between the ages of 15 and 29, from various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, can see their capacities and knowledge in leadership and political advocacy for the promotion of human rights strengthened - especially sexual and reproductive rights-, with a gender, intercultural, generational and disability approach.

Empowerment, historical memory, public policies and youth participation on some of the key lines that guide their formation. Thus, the bases are consolidated so that they can participate actively and effectively in decision-making at the national and regional levels and to be actors of social, political and economic changes.

Read the Spanish version