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Japan extends support to Honduran security programme

25 April 2008

Tokyo, Japan: The Government of Japan and the UN have extended assistance to the Joint Program for the Support of Human Security in Honduras (PCASH) for the second year, with a contribution of US $1.28 million through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security.

Targeting groups affected by family breakdown, poverty, unemployment, lack of education and social exclusion, the programme is intended to reduce violence and improve the lives of youth in three municipalities: Comayagua, Choluteca and Juticalpa.

Starting in November 2006, the programme now involves seven UNV volunteers, the only PCASH personnel engaged at the community level. They are promoting volunteerism through community groups and local organizations, and partnering UN agencies.

An aim of the programme is to introduce a 'culture of peace' among youth groups deemed at risk, via training focused on the values of love, respect and tolerance. UNV is also helping create and support nine small businesses to provide training on finance, marketing and other business skills. Other young people are receiving artistic and vocational training, for example in web design.

To engage youth in community activities, the UNV volunteers are also planning sports and cultural events such as public theatre. There are already examples of young people who have now chosen on their own initiative to get involved in community activities.

Honduras has one of the highest incidences of violence in Latin America, with frequent sexual and domestic violence against women. This has a serious negative impact on the security of youth in particular; 60 per cent of Hondurans are under 35.

The PCASH programme is one of the first inter-agency cooperation efforts of its kind in Latin America, with six UN operations involved. These are UNV, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO, the regional office of the World Health Organization).

This year's funding allocation represents the second tranche of a two-year total budget of US $2.5million, of which UNV is contributing about a sixth.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)