In Guatemala City, many young people are trapped in cycles of intergenerational poverty. Violence runs rampant, but with the right structures, these at-risk youth can become a creative force that propels social change, building stronger and safer communities.
In 2016, we partnered with Mercy Corps Guatemala and USAID’s Convivimos initiative to curb the trend of youth violence by encouraging the youth to see themselves as agents of change in their own communities and schools.
From design research, IDEO.org’s design team learned that in a “culture of silence,” spaces for self-expression are groundbreaking. However, distrust from adults holds youth-led initiatives back and the only way leadership becomes possible is when it starts with the natural talents of youth.
During prototyping, the team experimented with various platforms and channels that invited youth to become the protagonists of a different kind of story. That’s how we arrived at Colectivo Chapin—an online, youth ambassador-led community that celebrates positive change—and a mobile storytelling booth (in partnership with the local radio) to record the stories of teens and broadcast them on the Colectivo Chapin Facebook page.
By celebrating their talents and providing a platform they are able to own and shape for themselves, Colectivo Chapin gives a voice to youth, reduces stigma towards those living in communities affected by youth violence, and inspires a new generation of changemakers to take action. Colectivo Chapin was piloted with students from seven schools across Guatemala City.