Painting the Future: an alliance for the prevention of children’s and adolescents’ recruitment in Colombia

By Fundación Escuelas de Paz
December 2019-12-16

In September, Fundacion Escuelas de Paz began a strategic alliance with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Ciudad Don Bosco in order to implement activities that strengthen communities’ “ability to prevent children’s and young people exploitation by criminal networks and/or illegal groups, as well as developing and promoting armed conflict’s prevention and reconciliation.”

This alliance is possible in Colombia thanks to the project “Young Leaders of Peace and Reconciliation: A Transformative Approach.”  The proposal is “to contribute to sustainable peace and reconciliation for low-income communities that live in the midst of social conditions that lead to high-risk situations for minors and affect peaceful coexistence among its members”. This project is divided into three components:

  • Component I: Painting the Future; focuses on the prevention of recruitment and re-recruitment of minors and support them in their process of reintegration into society.
  • Component II: Journey of Heroes and Heroines; focused on strengthening young people as agents of positive change in their community.
  • Component III: Peace Perspectives; focused on supporting reconciliation processes with family and community through narratives and construction of historical memory.

Sixteen young volunteers, coming from the Peace Program in the Universidad del Tolima begin with their training in order to promote the strategy in different territories of this region, highly affected by the armed conflict. The participants in the training are young people from several undergraduate programs and some graduate participants with a great commitment to peacebuilding.  They are constantly searching for spaces in which they can influence and thus contribute with their knowledge and vital experience to transform the society.

The workshops, addressed through experiential activities, allowed each participant to discover their own experiences’ potential for strengthening  children’s and young people ability to become active agents of peace, and to develop prevention strategies for exploitation of minors by armed groups and other criminal organizations of prostitution, drug trafficking, micro trafficking, trafficking in persons, sexual or labor exploitation,

The actions will be carried out in 2020 by young volunteers of the University of Tolima, includes the prioritization of a municipality of the department to develop the training process in 4 different sessions plus a family day.

In the end it is sought that this alliance allows this knowledge to be multiplied in several territories through the “installed capacity-ability which seeks to improve the capacities of local organizations in the design, development and implementation of activities that strengthen the ability of communities with which work.”

Component II and Component III will be carried out in the municipalities of San José del Fragua and San Vicente del Caguán de Caquetá by 2020.

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