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Sport and Culture as tool to be agent of change and improve coexistance.

Working for promote empathy and fraternity between Colombians and Venezuelans, and reduce xenophobic expressions attitudes

Photo of Carlos Mario Reyes Prada
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

The ongoing political, human rights and socio-economic developments in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter referred to as Venezuela) have led to the outflow of more than 4.2 Venezuelans into neighbouring countries and beyond (as at August 2019). The exodus of refugees and migrants from Venezuelan is already the largest in the modern history of Latin America and the Caribbean. Colombia has been the host country in the Americas most directly impacted by the situation in Venezuela. Between 2005-2016, according to Colombian Migration authorities, 26.345 venezuelans came to Colombia. But for December 2018, the number of migrants increased considerably, registering 1.359.815 venezuelans crossing border points. At the end of June 2019, the Government of the Republic of Colombia estimated that 1.408.055 Venezuelans were present in the country. According to Colombian Migration authorities, at the end of June 2019, the number of Venezuelans in Atlántico department was 8.88% equivalent to 125.075 refugees, and in Bolivar department was 3.66% equivalent to 51.516 refugees. Historically Colombia has been a country of emigrant population. This could be one of the reasons why this high migration flow into Colombia has increased the xenophobic feeling against Venezuelans. Our proposal is focus in communities in the cities mentioned above, where the Venezuelan decided to settle down, working for promote empathy and fraternity between Colombians and Venezuelans, and reduce xenophobic expressions attitudes. Our work will have emphasis in activities based on art and sport topics aimed to facilitate integration. This project will aimed to adults, children and girls in order to attend different levels in the target population.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

Colombia is located in the continent of South America. We will work in Atlantic and Bolivar departments, located in Caribbean region of Colombia. The communities we identified in this region are the destinations where Venezuelans decided to settle down and where the rejection against migrant are also evident.

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)

Our proposal is focus to make people aware of the importance of being hospitable and kind with newcomers, changing stereotypes, by developing cultural and education activities aimed to strengthen relationships between Venezuelans and Colombians in the communities the live, and reducing risk of xenophobic violence. All this intervention will have also a gender equality cross-cutting issue in order to have a a gender-responsive manner.

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

It is important to mention that migrants experience the fear, anxiety and the vulnerabilities involved in embarking on their journey towards a better future and facing the new challenges that changing home and country could bring. Our idea is aimed to facilitate the integration of Venezuelans in Colombian culture, making their stay pleasant and also helping the host communities to understand the importance of accept the differences and context in order to achieve a better integration.

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

We consider that build relationships based on tolerance and acceptation of differences, will change the perspective that Colombian people in this communities have about Venezuelans. In this sense, it is important to make a capacity building process with community people, schools, parents, children and girls, and the actors in the environment they live. Our intervention will impact directly in the Venezuelans and Colombians, who are sharing not only a space where they live, but where they study, work and enjoy their free time. This project also will allow to improve the experience of integrate the community and strengthen social networks between them and achieve and socio-cultural integration.

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

In order to response to the migration crisis, the international cooperation is providing humanitarian aid to Venezuelans without considering that in host communities are also Colombians who has a lot of unsatisfied needs and are characterized by being a vulnerable population. This context, has generated discomfort in local communities for reasons like unequal job competition because Venezuelans usually work for a lower salary; generation annoyance because they use to live crammed in little houses which is inconvenient for the owners, they stay in parks, schools and health centers. Fundación Plan have been working in the last two years in response to the migration crisis. The intervention has been in the host communities, and we could identified attitudes of reject, discrimination and bullying in different spaces like schools, neighbors, jobs. In that sense we consider important to promote a campaign to improve the integration and mitigate xenophobia expressions in this communities.

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

Our intervention is aimed to communities located in Atlantico and Bolivar department, in vulnerability conditions who have received a significant number of Venezuelans. These Colombian communities, despite their circumstances, have not been beneficiaries of humanitarian aid in the past, and with the Venezuelan context the cooperation aid has been focus on response the basic need of migration crisis which has generate discomfort in the hos communities. . In this sense, the xenophobic expression has been increased generating environments with highlighted differences. Our work will aimed to transform perceptions regarding discrimination and acceptance of foreigners in the territory to create a better environment not only for Venezuelans but for Colombians in this context.

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

We believe the best way to understand “the other” is by understanding their situation. It is important that communities understand that Venezuelans are not migrating without a reason, but they are going through a difficult social-economical-cultural situation. In this sense, when sportive and cultural activities are developed, it is possible to find another long term initiatives, for example, children being in peacefully environments, avoiding the risk to get involved in drug addiction or criminal issues thank to the playful activities, or sports. Our objective is to generate living spaces through the art and sport as transformative axis as well as healing elements that promote resilience and strengthen the social and cultural integration of newcomers with the actively participation of both communities in integration process. We considered that working with children, girls and adults is going to help them to become an agent of change and meet the other culture in a closer way.

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

Plan International Colombia actively participates in in the Interagency Group for Mixed Migration Flows (GIFMM in its Spanish acronym), and articulates with UNHCR and OIM to support different actions on field. Plan International Colombia also has an actively participation in the humanitarian clusters on local and national level and contributes to enhanced coordination with other humanitarian actors.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

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

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name

Plan International Colombia / Fundación Plan

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

Fundación Plan is a non-profit Colombian civil society organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We strive for a just world, working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners. We are committed to making a lasting impact on the lives of the most vulnerable and excluded children while creating greater equality for girls. Our purpose thus concerns two intersecting primary impact groups: vulnerable and excluded children, and girls in particular. All of our work is grounded in human rights principles. We adopt strong, clear positions on, and actively support, human rights. We stand with human rights defenders and work with others to contribute to child rights and gender equality monitoring and reporting. We bring to life the human rights principles of participation and inclusion, non-discrimination and equality in all our programme and influencing work. We seek to maximise the opportunities created by the adoption of the Sustainable

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State


1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh

Hi Carlos great to have your idea on the platform for the challenge. It's exciting and I really like your idea. As the ideas phase comes to an end today the 17th of August, we would encourage you to again have a look at the evaluation criteria here

Also, it will be exciting for your to check out other ideas on the platform, provide some feedback and explore potential areas of collaboration with them. For example check out the Migration Lab Program