Despite Mexico’s social and economic developments over the past decades, the country still confronts serious issues of corruption, a high violent crime rate and unsteady public trust in its institutions. These issues impact those experiencing poverty the hardest because they are often targets of crime and frequently find public assistance to be unreliable. Addressing concerns relating to human rights, violence prevention and environmental sustainability will benefit the most vulnerable members of society. There are several USAID-sponsored programs in Mexico with these objectives in mind.
5 USAID-Sponsored Programs in Mexico
- Violence Prevention and Reduction Activity (USAID/PREVI). In recent years, Mexico experienced a significant increase in crime partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, USAID sponsored the PREVI activity. Its purpose is to increase the capacity of local Mexican governments to respond to and resolve crimes. USAID/PREVI partnered municipal authorities will intervene in low-level crime with a reduced focus on imprisonment and a greater focus on community policing and solutions that build public trust in institutions. The activity also calls for the establishment of public hearings, increased communication within the criminal justice system and solutions that address the imprisonment of at-risk youth. USAID provided $19.4 million to the program and will continue support until 2024.
- Mexico Border Investigative Reporting Hub (International Center for Journalists). This program, which the International Center for Journalists runs, seeks to reduce corruption in Mexico’s northern border states by improving journalists’ investigative skillset. The idea is that improved reporting on issues of corruption will increase civilian oversight and government accountability of public resources. USAID contributed $6 million to the program and expects to continue support until 2023.
- Human Rights Accountability Activity (Chemonics). This is another USAID-sponsored activity that addresses crime in Mexico, though with an increased focus on human rights abuses. Its goal is to support the Government of Mexico’s plans to combat torture and disappearance-related crimes, increase cooperation among agencies and help build the institutional capacity to address those human rights concerns. As part of this effort, the project also lends the Mexican government technical assistance in reducing backed-up forensic cases in five key states. USAID committed $24 million to the activity and will continue support until 2025.
- Alliances for Analysis and Communication (Mexico Evalua). This activity aims to increase the transparency of the judicial system in Mexico. Historically, institutions of Mexican justice have not been very open to people from outside of those bodies. To remedy this, Alliances for Analysis and Communication seeks to increase the accessibility of justice sector data among members of Mexican civil society. Members of the general public, the private sector and academia could then play a larger role in oversight. USAID contributed more than $2.3 million to this activity and plans to continue support until 2024.
- Sustainable Landscapes Ventures (Conservation International Foundation). There are a number of USAID programs in Mexico that focus on sustainable business, though this one works to make landscape practices more profitable for small farmers. The program will link small producers with buyers and investors to produce partnerships that generate profit through practices that fight deforestation and forest degradation. USAID contributed $10 million with continued support until 2025.
These USAID-sponsored programs in Mexico help build connections between influential state institutions and civil society. The expectation is that this will benefit all members of Mexican society, especially those living in poverty.
– Gonzalo Rodriguez