In 2016 the British Council, along with key partners, developed the platform Building Movements aimed at fostering social change and social inclusion of marginalised groups such as LGBTTQI, impoverished youth, disadvantaged women and girls, amongst others. This platform allowed the facilitation of articulated and coordinated work of multi-sectorial stakeholders, national, regional and from the UK towards common purposes, followed by capacity building of key actors and technical and financial support to local action. 

From that, a programme was developed with the name Building Movements: Tackling Violence in Latin America with the aim of fostering a more structured understanding of violence in the region by promoting practices and public policies that can, more effectively, combat violence. From August to November 2017 a comprehensive course was launched with the participation of Brazilian, Colombian, British and Mexican professors approaching violence under a Latin American perspective. The British Council in Mexico has built on that platform and adapted this regional programme to continue to explore the causes of violence in Mexico, particularly as it affects young people in urban contexts. 

The British Council and the Colectivo de Análisis de la Seguridad con Democracia (CASEDE) have partnered for the project’s Mexican chapter, Building Movements: Tackling Violence. CASEDE is a network of academics from various Mexican educational institutions; all its members are full-time researchers in both public and private universities. For the past 10 years, the organization has worked on numerous research and strategic impact projects related to the different dimensions of security (national, public, civil), as well as human rights and democracy.


Young people in Mexico (12-29 years) represent 31.4% of the total population with 37,504,292 people, it is estimated that 28.2 million out of them suffer some type of social deprivation (IMJUVE, 2017). Young people in Mexico face numerous economic and social affectations, reducing their opportunities to thrive; the World Bank has placed them as the most common perpetrators and victims of violence (World Bank, 2012). At the same time, the Survey of Social Cohesion for Violence and Crime Prevention (ECOPRED, INEGI) identified that in 2014, out of a 9.6 million population of young people, about 4.5 million were victimized, representing a 46.4% rate of crime and/or abuse prevalence. It is important to note that prevalence among males and females was quite similar, 47% and 45.8% respectively. ECOPRED also revealed that, 47% of young people feel unsafe in their municipality; 36% consider that the police are corrupt and 27.5% believe that they are somehow negligent or related to criminal activities.

Two of the priority areas of the British Council in Mexico are: helping young people have the skills, resilience and networks to find pathways to better lives and promoting social inclusion and wider participation by strengthening civil society. That is why its project with CASEDE, Building Movements: Tackling Violence, will directly benefit civil society by contributing to a more coherent understanding of violence in Mexico affecting young people in urban contexts; through the facilitation of dialogue and generating engagement with multiple actors we will develop knowledge and professionalise the current interventions that are being launched locally. 

Our aim is to contribute in the generation of awareness and engagement, to facilitate capacity building opportunities and to promote social change. We will achieve that through the coordination of different efforts and actors in the promotion of a multi-sectorial approach operating at different levels (individual, community and social) over a three-year period.

Building Movements: Tackling Violence


Phase 1. Awareness and Engagement 

A three-day workshop was organised from 20-22 June 2018 with over seventy-five representatives of different sectors (civil society, international organisations, government representatives, community leaders, academics, etc.). Through a series of facilitated sessions the participants enhanced their dialogue and deepened their reflections for a comprehensive understanding of the different types of violence that affect young people in urban contexts. 

The reflections made were extremely valuable to continue to shape the programme and ensure its added value to the current interventions around violence prevention. We have made a conscious effort to embed the following conclusions into Phase 2:

  • There are multiple forms of violence that affect young people influenced and caused by numerous factors and conducts; 
  • Young people continue to face stigmas that halt their full participation in society and limit their development as agents of their own development; 
  • Policies and actions aimed at preventing or reducing the violences should be made and implemented in collaboration with young people;
  • Intergenerational dialogue and approaches should be promoted to ensure the success of the actions; 
  • Although currently the collaborations amongst and between different sectors is still limited, it is important to promote multi-sector dialogue and alliances for a comprehensive approach to tackling violence in Mexico. 

Phase 2. Capacity Building 

Through an online open Call where we received over 100 applications, we selected sixty civil society leaders, organizations and collectives to participate in a four-month workshop aimed at exchanging and building knowledge and capacities to professionalize their practice through a project management approach. Throughout these sessions, said organisations will plan and develop a project aimed at reducing or preventing violence that affects young people in urban contexts, by building a community of knowledge and practise. 

Phase 3. Local action with global vision 

(we are currently looking for partners to implement this phase) 

In FY 2019 – 2020, the British Council will organise a two-week training in the United Kingdom developed and implemented by academia directed at local and federal public servants in Mexico working on preventing and reducing violence that affects young people in urban contexts. Upon their return the public servants will be expected to cascade their learning and coordinate their efforts with one, or more, of the participants from phase two that will, in parallel, be implementing the projects they developed during the capacity building workshops. 


Two young woman working together

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