Bogota, Colombia: Youth trained as facilitators of peace and reconciliation


An article from the Web site of Bogotá

Thanks to the coordination of the District Education Secretariat, ACDI / VOCA (North American NGO) and the Fe y Alegría Foundation, 110 students and two teachers from the towns of Kennedy and Bosa graduated as facilitators of peace and reconciliation.

This initiative that began in November 2020 was carried out under the guidelines of the ECO Program – Protective and Reliable Educational Environments, with the purpose of contributing to the construction of the District’s ecosystem of peace and reconciliation.

District Network of Facilitators for Peace and Reconciliation

As a result of this exercise, the District Network of Facilitators for Peace and Reconciliation was formed, which includes students from the Soledad Acosta de Samper, Germán Arciniegas, Ciudadela Educativa, El Porvenir, Japan and Tom Adams schools from the localities of Bosa and Kennedy.

“Schools are living and fundamental centers for social transformation, so we work to strengthen them. This group is a pioneer in the constitution of the network and, without a doubt, it will not be the last group with which we hope to advance in the local construction of peace ”, highlighted Rocío Olarte Tapia, director of Relations with the Private Educational Sector of the Ministry of Education .

(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

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For this, a process involved 144 students and two teachers from these schools. The call was held openly, aimed mainly at students between grades 5 to 9, with an interest in transforming the relationship of the educational institution with the territory to which they belong and contributing to the construction of a culture of peace in their environment, on the basis of dialogue, respect and empathy.

During 15 weeks sessions were held aimed at enhancing their capacities and commitments for the strengthening of peace and reconciliation. The pedagogical strategies reflected on the daily experiences in each of their environments as a central element to understand the process in the local context.

Trained in peace and reconciliation

In this training process the participants addressed issues such as the management and transformation of conflicts, the construction of a culture of peace, the recognition and appreciation of diversity and the prevention of all forms of gender-based violence, among others.

In the case of participating teachers, the scope of their actions will be reflected in the framework of their role within the educational institution.

“The commitment to replicate is fundamental, not only in educational institutions, but in all everyday spaces where learning from the network can be made visible. From the Secretariat, our commitment is to continue working in the construction of peace ”, said the director of Relations with the Private Educational Sector.

The ECO Program will provide continuity and support to the Network of Educational Institutions that contribute to the District’s Peace and Reconciliation Ecosystem, including replication in more locations in Bogotá from a new cycle of the training process during 2022.

It is expected that more institutional and social sectors will join this project and contribute to the construction of the city.