OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Peace Culture on the border: Colombia-Venezuela

Peace culture as an integrating power on the border

Photo of Vera Grabe
2 1

Written by

What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Colombia is currently facing a broad migration process of Venezuelan citizens who stay in the country or who are passing through other countries in South America. One of the most affected cities is Cúcuta, border city. Local and national authorities agree to recognize the seriousness of the situation, both for those who follow the path and for those who remain. Those who are looking for a work space that they cannot find easily. Many stay in the parks, on sports venues, on the streets sleeping. There are others who enter with Venezuelan products to sell them in the neighborhoods and when it is getting dark and, as they know they are going to close the border, they immediately look for the space to leave the city. This humanitarian crisis is accompanied by problems of coexistence, violence and the growth of crime. With this, prejudices, rejection of the Venezuelan emigrant, lack of solidarity, destitution and health problems are fed. The idea that we present is aimed at strengthening hospitality, solidarity, overcoming prejudices and violence-related problems in the host and arrival communities.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Cúcuta (Colombia) is a border city between Colombia and Venezuela. It is estimated that every day they can cross about 45,000 Venezuelans and about 2,000 stay in the city. Many spend looking for other spaces towards South America. In the city of Cúcuta at this time about 10,000 Venezuelans can be found, distributed in different parts of the city, in the neighborhoods and in the Colombian and Venezuelan areas. The authorities agree to recognize in this situation a real humanitarian emergency.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Moving populations which suffer the stigmatization and prejudice that they are subject to by host communities, which prevent them from seeing the human being, with their history and memory to share, what has something to contribute, that has a knowledge, A talent, a potentiality. It is necessary to strengthen community actions to build society from diversity, overcome stigmas and prejudices, and find ways of meeting people and communities from their common humanity, from solidarity and welcome.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Many of those who emigrate from Venezuela arrive in Colombia require immediate attention to health, shelter and food. State entities and non-governmental organizations and citizens in general provide resources to meet these needs immediately and basicly. More, when among those who emigrate there are children, pregnant women and the elderly. The wide presence of Venezuelans in Cúcuta, has generated wide problems of coexistence, unemployment, crime and in general rejection of the emigrant. The host communities are not prepared to welcome the stranger, his culture and his poverty. Growing indifference, mutual ignorance and consideration of the one who comes as a threat to stability and the sum of poverty and violence. The idea is oriented to human needs such as the recognition of difference, overcoming prejudices, the transformation of violent dynamics of relating between those who live and those who arrive. The human need that it solves is that of overcoming violence and a culture of pea

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The community pedagogical approach from the observatory's own peace and tested in different parts of the country (Colombia), has within its many purposes to enhance and make visible the existing peace in people and communities and not only their violence, without ignoring them to dismantle them . The pedagogy of peace allows the people who arrive and the host communities to know each other and from there strengthen the participation of all as transforming agents of the reality of their place of residence; explore attitudes that they do not know about themselves and their neighbors, when proposing ideas, planning and organizing, leading and convoking the community, creating new work routes, new actions for the improvement of spaces, bonds of friendship and trust, and above all the recognition in their community as managers of peace and good living to live together. The most concrete result is to build peace from diversity. And thus disarticulate cultural, physical and structural violenc

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Cúcuta (Colombia) is currently experiencing a true humanitarian crisis with the growth of Venezuelan emigration. It is a complex emergency. To the poverty and unemployment situation of the city, the passage or permanent transit of Venezuelans and the stay of many others or in public places (parks, streets, shopping centers, sports venues) or in already established neighborhoods and communities. In addition to the need to provide humanitarian responses to basic needs (food, shelter, health), education in emergencies of a complex nature recognizes the importance of education in a culture of peace, both for those who receive and for those who arrive and They decide to establish themselves permanently or temporarily. Something necessary given that in these conditions the cultural violence, the rejection of the foreigner, the different and the amount of prejudices that feed physical and structural violence grow.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Cúcuta is a border city that borders Venezuela. It has been characterized as a place of permanent exchange of people, goods and services. Currently, he suffers the impact of a strong emigration of Venezuelans, as well as the return of many Colombians, in the search for better living conditions for themselves and their families. Some remain and others transit through it to other cities in the country or countries in South America. This creates a situation of competition for the few jobs, Venezuelans give away their workforce. Trade has declined due to the low price of the Venezuelan currency. In addition, prejudices, stigmatization, conflicts that arise or become more acute between border towns that previously lived together without major problems. Thus, unemployment, poverty and violence have worsened. The efforts of the state are not enough. People complain that state aid goes to Venezuelans and not to Colombians in need of it.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

As Cúcuta is a border city, it has a long tradition of economic, cultural and human exchange with Venezuela. For this reason, welcoming migrants and foreigners is no stranger to their culture and cultural reality. This culture has been impacted in many cases in a negative way by the massive arrival of emigrants, with the growth of problems of physical, structural and cultural violence. The latter for the rejection and lack of reception of those who pass temporarily and who stays. The idea is based first on the intercultural, exchange and host nature of the foreigner of those who inhabit Cúcuta, to enhance actions of solidarity, recognition and assessment of the difference and fraternity between countries. More when many families are Colombian - Venezuelan. Or also because there is the return of Colombians who emigrated to Venezuela many years ago.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

One of the most important partners is the regional public University, in this case the University Francisco Paula Santander, with which they have shared the construction of pedagogical innovations since 2004. It guarantees institutional support, as well as the contribution of students and professionals inserted in the community. Since there is a large presence of national and international non-governmental organizations, sometimes the communities either feel used or they themselves use and manipulate all these agencies, being allied with the public university gives the proposed credibility and trust among the agents of the state, like community members. The university therefore guarantees possible alliances with the State, as with non-governmental and religious organizations, thereby guaranteeing the presence without misgivings in the communities and their different leaderships.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Systems design: Solutions that target changing larger system

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Observatorio para la Paz-Colombia

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

The OBSERVATORY FOR PEACE is non-profit organization, formally constituted in1996, whose mission is developed a pedagogy for peace as a culture, to make peace a pedagogy of cultural transformation We call it PACICULTURA, a concept created by the team of the Observatory for Peace, that makes peace a pedagogical innovation and " a paradigm of change", to dismantle cultural violence and promote peace practices in daily life: families, community, School, institution, work. With this approach we have created and implemented educational flexible models, participatory pedagogical strategies, always in dialogue with the community; build educational innovations; a contextualized pedagogy that starts from the interests and needs of the beneficiary populations. We have been oriented primarily to displaced populations affected by the diverse violence all over Colombia, and vulnerable population in urban and rural communities.

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Bogotá with impact en the whole country, specially in Cúcuta


Join the conversation:

Photo of Diogenes Infante

Hola, Mi nombre es Diógenes Infante tengo propuesto esta idea: Creo que tenemos varios puntos comunes, uno sobre todo: nuestros migrantes. Vamos a conectarnos, aquí en el norte del Ecuador tenemos una comunidad de profesionales que estamos organizándonos para trabajar en la atención de los migrantes. Por ejemplo, estamos desarrollando sensores inteligentes para la agricultura y tenemos una propuesta de una granja. Por favor, revisa mi propuesta y déjame tus comentarios. Así vamos avanzando. Saludos.

View all comments