Colombia: Barrios de paz - Peace neighborhoods
This project, carried out in Bogota, Colombia, was inspired by the concept of Barrios de Paz – Peace Neighborhoods – implemented in Mexico City by MasterPeace Mexico. MasterPeace Colombia-Bogota followed the example by using the same methodology and addressing similar issues and target groups. The project involved creating an inclusive and resilient environment for vulnerable groups, mostly teenagers, and took place in three schools where the same methods and tools were used: art, peace and entrepreneurship. The aim of the project was to transform the ‘culture of violence’ into a ‘culture of peace’, which was done by creating a space within the three schools for hours of training in different cycles and during certain time frames. The end-goal was to provide these vulnerable groups with the necessary knowledge and training to create opportunities within their communities for new, innovative and creative projects. In this way, the students eventually become the teachers, educating a whole new generation about opportunities for self-employment through new businesses and projects.
Bogota witnessed one of the biggest social and economic gaps in Colombia over the past years, which has had a strong effect on the social fabric of the city creating pockets of violence around the urban areas. MasterPeace Colombia-Bogota regularly works with teenagers with a history of involvement in such violent groups to create a new perspectives.
In 2017 Colombia’s homicide rate fell to its lowest level for the first time in 42 year. President Juan Manuel Santos announced this, as the Andean Nation succeeded in preserving its fragile peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) through the peace accords’ first anniversary. Challenges such as the targeted killings of social activists remain, however, and authorities still registered a total of 10,617 murders from January to November 2017. Colombia currently has a homicide rate of 24 per 100.000 people.
More than half of Bogota’s citizens live in Zone 1 and 2 (Zone 1 being the worst living situation and Zone 6 being the most luxurious) that are dense slums covering the hillsides. Meaning that there are great amounts of low income families. This kind environment can create a great amount of youth delinquencies because the youth in Bogota has no means of escaping their violent neighborhoods in the slums.
- The project involved 500 participants from various communities and neighborhoods in Bogota.
- 224 hours of training were carried out in three schools.
- The trainings were distributed into 7 cycles, which were carried out in seven months.
- One art enterprise was launched.
- Training of teenagers from vulnerable backgrounds with knowledge and skills to create an art-related enterprise
- Creating opportunities for self-employment through setting up new businesses.
- Opening the communities to novel and diverse content that is both theoretical and practical.