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Youth in movement: Young women and men boosting Local Peace Initiatives (LPI) in Colombia

We are going to achieve positive life tracks and reconciliation in Colombian youth through local projects made and proposed by themselves.

Photo of Gilberto Moscoso Rodríguez
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

We want to boost the reconciliation process in a peacebuilding context in which the violence has become a culture in the social nucleus of the Colombian society. Even though the mortality rate had a historical descent, the social violence has increased because of narratives of hatred, rage and revenge after an armed conflict that lasted almost 60 years. During this time the rural areas were the most affected, so Colombian people had two options: the first one run out of the countryside and migrate to the urban areas; and the second one stand in their farms dealing with the violence dynamics in sites where the state had a limited presence. Given that, the cities started to collapse based on the massive forced displacement, so the victims of the armed conflict, were then also victims of the poverty and the lack of opportunities to move on.
Based on the urban-rural increasing disparities due to the armed conflict in Colombia, we can say there were different ways to face the conflict based on the location of the victims. So, the principal idea of this project is to get to know victims from the city and the countryside to promote the encounter of narratives, truths and memories and provoke on a collective transformation by addressing their strength by empowering young women and men for them to create Local Peace Initiatives (LPI).
The LPI are projects based on the solutions that the participants will realized ones the pass through a process of Reconciliation where they could understand how to overcome difficult situations, to solve daily conflicts and to manage their feelings. This is particularly sensitive in the youth, because it is a moment in life where good decisions must be taken. So that, the LPI will the pathway to think in different ways to find an economic entrepreneurship with social impact in their communities.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are youngsters between 18 to 25 years from rural and urban areas in Cundinamarca, Colombia. They are low-income participants who had struggles in beginning their university studies and entered in a survival economy in which there isn’t a diversity of opportunities for them to pursue their dreams and address a positive life track. We are planning to work 500 young women and men from the surrounding municipalities of Bogotá.
They will be beneficiated in multiple ways:
1. Economically, by supporting their local projects that are supposed to have a productive component in addition to the social one.
2. Socially, because with the implementation of their LPI they are helping their communities, families, and neighborhoods promoting the peace culture.
3. Individually, in terms of transforming their negative narratives into opportunities ones they left behind the rage, revenge, and retaliation, and start to help the others around them and themselves

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Other organizations, including the Colombian state, believe that the reconciliation a peacebuilding process is about improving the economic environment of the most marginalized sites in the country where the conflict affected the most. We believe that the Social Capital precedes the Economic one. This innovative point of view let us implement methodologies focused on the subjective needs of the individuals: the feelings rage, rancor, and retaliation (the 3R) and transform them into positive narratives that will restructure their Sociability, Sense of life and Self-security (the 3S). This is the outcome of the Schools of Reconciliation, a program that prevents the violence by giving socio-emotional tools for alternative ways of solving problems in a pacific way, emotional regulation, and stimulates the social cohesion.
Then with LPI, a project of the youngsters' initiative pretends to boost and sustainable economic benefit meanwhile a social impact is addressed

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

http://fundacionparalareconciliacion.org/
Foundation for Reconciliation is a NGO focused on communities affected by armed conflict in Colombia. It designs and implements programmes that aim to develop safe spaces for victims, ex-combatants, and people who have suffered displacement. The work of the Foundation complements and innovates approaches based on mediation and reconciliation by introducing directly the need for psychosocial in those affected by violence.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Knowing the youth as a vulnerable population which has the power to transform their reality but in a context economic and politic uncertainty the lack of opportunities is an issue that forced them to forget about a better future. That is why the Foundation saw in youth an opening door to work with. In our experience, young women and men are known as an actor who has the responsibility of not repeating the past and move forward to a peaceful society.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace has been a utopic state in Colombian territories since the armed conflict started 60 years ago, the reestablishment of trust and social cohesion has been a challenge for the governments and the civil society. Armed actors (including the state) have caused so much pain in the civils that only think in survive, not caring about cooperation and empathy. In this context, the social tensions in the communities create a culture of violence that is absorbed and replicated by the youth.
Prosperity is directly related to the social cohesion in the communities. If there is not trust, cooperation and cooperation between the individuals there will be no market to support any business. The lack of economic opportunities in the conflict zones in Colombia is given because of the historic marginalization of these territories. For that, we want to achieve the encounter between urban and rural youngster to star cocreation processes about creative solutions to their needs.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The Foundation for Reconciliation is a widely respected and recognized NGO working with experience working in 27 of the 32 regions in Colombia. We have created a close relationship between the social leaders of the local organization that we have been working with for more than 15 years. Based on that, our project aims to take advantage of the proximity with the participants.
The youth will get involved because of their interest in boosting their economic opportunities based on a project in which they believe. This impulse will help us to develop the rest of the project where they are going to learn how to face their reality and how they can change it. In this way, we are encouraging youth to become a change-agent in their territories. Our organization has qualitative methods to understand what the population of interest is needing. So that, our diagnosis is based on a cooperative method that creates an active participation of the youth.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

One of the big assets of our organization is the partnership that has created with local organizations, one of those works with rural youth. This individual is characterized for their willingness to improve the life quality in the Colombian countryside and are aware of the urgency, driving reforms in their context making the most of their creativity, criticism, and disruptive point of views. These specifications make them get easily engaged in the process that we will propose them.

Geographic Focus

We want to reach urban and rural populations: in Bogota, Yacopí, Caparrapí and La Palma (Colombia)

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project will be executed in a term of two years (24 months). It is divided into three phases in the next order:
1. Diagnosis (2 months)
2. Schools of Reconciliation (6 months)
3. Local Peace initiatives – training (4 months)
4. Local Peace initiatives – implementation (4 months)
5. Local Peace initiatives – Follow up (8 months)
6. Evaluation ex-post (2 months)
We will implement a cyclic follow-up method to every stage of the project to guarantee its quality.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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