- Casa Presidencial photo -

Published on Tuesday, September 14, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Five years in the making of the United States Embassy transferring ​​the “Hacete Escuchar” program (raise your voice in the English language) to the Costa Rican government for its continuation.

“This program represents a comprehensive approach to violence prevention, with specific methodologies and tools for the government institutions to use," Marcos Mandojana, Chargé d'Affaires of the United States Embassy said. "The United States firmly believes that the combination of efforts translates into stronger and safer communities and that it is an honor to transfer the "Hacete Escuchar" program to the government of Costa Rica."

According to the embassy, ​​"Hacete Escuchar" was created to prevent domestic violence by encouraging youth to denounce violence by saying something.

The program was created five years ago in alliance with the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Ministry of Public Security.

The embassy transferred the tools of the program to the Costa Rican government for the continuity of implementing the violence prevention strategy.

The goal of the program is to build capacities in teenagers (between 12 and 18 years old) and the community. The prevention program of domestic violence is especially applied in communities with high rates of violence, local drug trafficking and gangs.

Participants attend workshops to learn and discuss about issues such as self-esteem, independence of criteria, gender violence against women, domestic violence, human rights, tolerance, among others.

Thanks to this program, the "Cafes Comunitarios" workshops (community meetings at cafes in the English language) were created, with the participation of different police organizations, to also train adults, such as parents of young people, caregivers, adults, leaders among others, how to address domestic violence in each community.

The educational methodologies of the program also include activities such as art and song contests, outdoor activities, as tools to share preventive messages and awareness of violence.

"I am hopeful that we will have conversations on how to raise our efforts to create a society in which every man, woman and child can have a life free from the fear of violence in their homes," Mandojana said.

This program for the prevention of domestic violence was created at the request of the Directorate of Operations of the Ministry of Security, for those communities where there is the sale of drugs and gangs.

On September 28, 2017, INL donated $344,000 to the Glasswing Foundation and the U.S. Public Services International so that within two years, they would implement the ”Hacete Escuchar” program in the provinces of Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limón.

The program was extended for two more years in 2019, with a donation of $300,000 to expand it to the provinces of San José, Cartago, Heredia and Alajuela.

According to the embassy, ​​among the main results of the program were the development of a guide for students and teachers for the prevention of domestic gender violence. These guides were validated by the Ministry of Public Education and other public institutions in Costa Rica.

The program has been developed in communities such as Limón city, Pococí, Siquirres, Garabito, Buenos Aires, Nicoya, Santa Cruz, La Cruz, Guararí, La Capri, Aguas Zarcas de San Carlos, Cartago, Oreamuno, Heredia city, Belén, Pavas, Escazú and Alajuela city.

The Embassy does more than just implement violence prevention programs, they help promote cleanliness. Earlier this month, they donated sinks to public schools.

The embassy also announced its support to the "Ligas Atléticas Policiales" (police sports league in the English language) program for the Ministry of Security.

In August, the Embassy announced Mandojana as the new Chargé d’Affaires, replacing Gloria Berbena. 

It is expected the embassy will soon provide updated information on the arrival of a new ambassador in Costa Rica.

In June, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Cynthia Ann Telles as Ambassador to Costa Rica.  

What should the embassy do to support more U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


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