Besieged lives. A learning network about youth, work, and violence in Latin America.

The Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) has partnered with la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Sede Costa Rica (FLACSO-Costa Rica) on Vidas Sitiadas (Besieged Lives), a research and practice-oriented initiative to illuminate how systems of violence and marginalization impact the lives of vulnerable women and girls in Latin American cities. Vidas Sitiadas is sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and CLALS is contributing to the FLACSO-Costa Rica project by disseminating its key findings through English-language outlets, including blog posts on the AULABLOG, upcoming policy briefs, and social media interventions. CLALS and FLACSO-Costa Rica also convened a virtual seminar that featured leading experts in the field to discuss systems of marginalization and policies for women's empowerment.  

This three-year research project aims to prevent violence by identifying the links between youth, gender, violence, and economic opportunities. Moreover, it proposes strategies and policy solutions for the social inclusion of vulnerable youth in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Uruguay. The investigation utilizes qualitative methods, such as interviews and direct observations, as well as quantitative data. Topics addressed in the study include victimization, motherhood, intersectionality, mental health, informal labor markets, pathways to criminality, post-imprisonment reintegration, the affiliation of young women in gangs, and the impact of COVID-19. The project also involves local efforts to construct learning communities that will provide insights for policy makers, development practitioners, academic specialists, and other influential actors in the field.

Series of Meetings with Vidas Sitiadas Researchers in Washington

Researchers meet with personnel at the OAS.

On October 17-18, 2022, the Center welcomed a delegation of Central and South America-based researchers to Washington who participated in the Vidas Sitiadas project. CLALS facilitated meetings with key interlocutors at the Inter-American Development Bank, Organization of American States, Washington Office on Latin America, and Inter-American Foundation in order for researchers to share the findings that emerged from their efforts and explore potential future actions and projects inspired by the lessons learned under Vidas Sitiadas.

Vidas Sitiadas researchers meeting with personnel at WOLA.

Researchers in the delegation represented five of the six country-specific reports that the Vidas Sitiadas project produced. A brief overview of the delegation's visit to Washington is available to read in Spanish here

Workshops and Public Events

Empowering Young Women in Latin America: Findings from the Vidas Sitiadas Project | October 17, 2022

Vidas Sitiadas researchers at the panel event.

CLALS hosted two in-person and remote panel discussions where researchers who participated in the Vidas Sitiadas project outlined their main findings and connected with the AU community. The first panel, in Spanish, discussed conceptual frameworks for studying the impacts of systems of violence and marginalization on the lives of vulnerable young women in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Uruguay. The second panel, in English, explored public policy strategies and solutions for the social and economic inclusion of young women in the region.

Panelists included Fidel de Rooy Estrada, Researcher at FLACSO Costa Rica; María del Pilar Castillo Valencia, Professor & Researcher at Universidad del Valle; Ana Miranda, Academic Coordinator of Youth Research Program at FLACSO Argentina; Mario Roberto Chavez, Researcher at Glasswing International; and Marco Vinicio Fournier Facio, Consultant at Paniamor Foundation

Vidas Sitiadas researchers at the panel event.

This event was co-sponsored by the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Department of Sociology, and Changing Aid Strategic Research Initiative at American University. Visit the Center's Facebook page to watch the recording of the event. 

Webinar Series | April 26-27, 2022

CLALS participated in two workshops hosted by FLACSO Costa Rica via Zoom where researchers working on the Vidas Sitiadas initiative described their work carried out in five projects across Latin America, presented their findings, and discussed the ways these results can help further economic and political advocacy for young women in Latin America. The workshops were split into two sessions, each of which focused on one of the following topics: gender, violence, work, and political advocacy.

The recordings of these webinars are available on our Past Events page.