The Dominican Republic suffers from high rates of poverty and unemployment, which are especially prevalent among the country’s youth population. Youth unemployment rates are more than twice as high compared to the rest of the country, with nearly a third of young people currently unemployed. These challenges often lead youth to participate in a number of risky behaviors including crime and violence.
Making Cents International supported Social Impact in the mid-term performance evaluation of USAID/Dominican Republic’s At-Risk Youth Initiative Alerta Joven. The program took a multidisciplinary approach to serving at-risk youth by offering education, training and support activities intended to decrease negative behaviors and increase strengths and assets. The mid-term evaluation reported on the effectiveness of the Alerta Joven program, and determined the significance of its impact on crime prevention. The Making Cents team participated in the development of the evaluation design and the quantitative youth survey. Making Cents also led the development of the qualitative data collection tools and training materials and conducted evaluation interviews and focus groups with youth, government officials, implementers, and other important stakeholders. Making Cents ensured the inclusion of a Positive Youth Development approach and analyzed and reported the findings in a way that can improve Alerta Joven and provide guidance to other similar youth programs.