We're pleased to announce the publication of our 2016 Annual Report. Below is an excerpt from the report's message from PADF Trustees.
The Organization of American States (OAS) was founded on a commitment to democratic principles and the declaration of rights and obligations that ensure the basic well-being of every person in the Americas. As the development and disaster relief arm of the OAS, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) remains committed to fulfilling that promise to the people of the hemisphere, particularly those living in poverty and social exclusion.
For 55 years PADF has championed social, economic and democratic rights throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Propelled by a commitment to creating greater opportunity and prosperity, PADF invested more than $95 million in development and disaster assistance in 2016, reaching nearly 8 million people.
While this support has helped place more people on a path to improving their lives, major challenges remain. Today, 168 million people in the region still live in poverty and the region continues to have the highest income inequality in the world. One in five young people—about 30 million—is not in school and lacks a job. Half do not finish their secondary education. Students continue to rank in the bottom third worldwide in math, reading and science.
In addition, millions more remain excluded from society’s mainstream, among them indigenous people, Afro-descendants, girls and women, displaced persons and at-risk youth. Many others are trapped in isolated rural areas and marginal urban neighborhoods with little hope of improving their lives. The global community cannot ignore these development needs.
These challenges demand decisive action. This is why PADF is committed to improving livelihoods and providing jobs, reducing poverty and social inequality, advancing democratic practices and human rights, and aiding victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. The Foundation also strengthens communities through initiatives that advance civic engagement, democratic governance, freedom of expression, crime prevention, disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation. We believe that investing in individuals and social entrepreneurs empowers entire communities.
In 2016, PADF launched “STEM in the Americas,” an initiative aimed at improving education among students and teachers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico through increased focus on science, technology, engineering and math. This program enables young people, especially girls and young women, to quickly gain technical skills that can improve their incomes and social advancement.
The Foundation continues to be broad-based, empowering indigenous and Afro-descendant people in Colombia, investing in businesses in Haiti to create more jobs, enhancing food security through climatesmart agriculture in Guatemala, raising awareness about child labor in Mexico, and responding to natural disasters like the Ecuador earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. This year, PADF also opened offices in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.
Investing in people is essential. Economic and social inclusion combined with new opportunities are the ingredients for healthy, productive communities. Our efforts to support the most vulnerable people would not be possible without partnerships with the OAS, governments, the private sector and numerous civil society and community-based groups throughout the region.
With your support, PADF will continue working toward the goal of investing in people for the betterment of the Americas and the world.
LUIS ALMAGRO LEMES
Organization of American States
PADF Board of Trustees
LUIS A. UBIÑAS
PADF Board of Trustees