CSO’s evaluation of its engagement in Belize was the first formal evaluation conducted by CSO, and was conducted as an independent internal evaluation by CSO's Office of Learning and Training. The Belize engagement was a small innovative program to reduce gang activity and violence in Southside Belize City by developing mediation and community dialogue capacity. The evaluation found that mediation was very effective and showed promise for expansion, while community dialogue was resonating but making slower progress and institutional issues hampered sustainability. Recommendations of the evaluation inspired a second wave of programming to plug gaps in community dialogue training, train mediators more grounded in gang neighborhoods, and improve program management capacity of the local partner, as well as a grant from the U.S. Embassy to the local partner allowing it to hire dedicated staff. Community dialogues consequently grew eight-fold and mediators and trainers doubled. The Prime Minister praised the program for establishing "a sustainable, Belizean community-based approach to reduce violence." While other programs and factors likely contributed, the homicide rate in Belize City decreased by roughly 50% in 2013, though increasing in several other locations.
Belize Engagement Evaluation Report [1119 Kb]