Help Reduce Youth Recruitment into Transnational Criminal Organizations in Belize
Located within one of the most tumultuous regions in the world, Belize is experiencing increased violence, instability, and illicit activity. The growing presence of transnational criminal organizations in Belize is particularly concerning for at-risk youth, as they are more susceptible to recruitment into gangs and drug trafficking organizations. Disrupting the recruitment process is vital to weakening these organizations and reducing their threat to the United States. To do so, it is necessary to help youth build resiliency and set them on a path to success.
The Belize Youth Challenge Programme seeks to do just that. Modeled after a similar effort by the Louisiana National Guard, the program promotes academic excellence, teaches foundational life skills, and provides vocational training to ensure each graduate is fully prepared to be a productive member of society. Spirit of America, soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard, US Southern Command, and the US Embassy are working together to address critical needs within the Belize Youth Programme and ensure it continues to deter youth recruitment into transnational criminal organizations.
The program’s agriculture vocational training is impeded by drought, flooding, and pests. Beyond this, the plot of arable land has not been expanded due to a lack of tools and equipment. Though the program aspires to increase class sizes, the facility is currently unable to accommodate more cadets with its current operations capacity.
With your support, Spirit of America will be able to provide the tools and equipment that the Belize Youth Challenge Programme needs to continue reducing youth recruitment into transnational criminal organizations.