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Playing, learning and working together in Bogota and Cazuca

Over two days in November, we brought together in Bogota 30 young people and staff members from our Colombian partner organisations to give them the opportunity to exchange experiences and learn from each other’s work.

Our partner Tiempo de Juego, who we support to run a music, theatre and arts project in Cazuca, near Bogota, opened their doors to us for a ‘Day in the life of Tiempo de Juego’. Their staff and young leaders – local young people who joined the project as participants and have progressed to coordinating and delivering project activities to younger children – gave us an introduction to Tiempo de Juego’s approach to using sport and the arts to teach children important life skills.

The day began with a match of ‘football for peace’, which is an adaptation of the sport that promotes skills such as social inclusion, gender equality, tolerance and honesty. The teams had the opportunity to invent their own rules, and, since there is no referee, had to resolve conflicts and uncertainties between themselves as the game progressed. Tiempo de Juego explained that this approach helps children who are growing up surrounded by high levels of poverty and violence to build their confidence, learn how to live peacefully and how to avoid or defuse risky situations.

The participants also had the opportunity to take part in a simple music activity. Tiempo de Juego’s music project helps young people to write and perform songs which explore the difficulties they face in their communities and the actions they are taking to overcome them. With the help of two young leaders, the participants composed and recorded songs about topics that were important to them, which ranged from gender equality to their excitement about the day’s visit to Cazuca.

In the afternoon, one of the young leaders that runs Tiempo de Juego’s ‘gender school’ ran a workshop to promote discussion about gender issues and challenge stereotypes, using  real-life stories of people whose fight for equality had brought about social or political change.

The day ended with a space for reflection about how our partners could incorporate elements of what they had learnt from Tiempo de Juego’s methodology into their own projects. A 17 year old participant from Buenaventura said: “I don’t want to leave here! I’ve enjoyed today so much. But I already have ideas about how I’m going to replicate these activities, especially football for peace, in my community.”

The following day, our Project Officers Natalia and Camilo ran a workshop called ‘The importance of the little things’, aimed at helping both staff and young people value the impact that small actions can have on achieving big changes in people’s lives. This included an activity to help the staff think about the details that it is important to give when reporting on project activities. One of our aims is to strengthen the work of our partners by helping them develop high quality monitoring and evaluation techniques, so that they are able to share their work with other organisations and with potential future partners or funders.

Meetings like this are vital – they help the network of Children Change Colombia partners share their expertise and, so doing, develop long-term solutions to the problems faced by young people in Colombia. We are committed to making this possible – that’s why we care so much about strengthening our partner’s work.” affirmed Duncan Millar, Executive Director of Children Change Colombia.

We would like to say a very big thank you to the airlines LATAM and Satena who very generously donated tickets so that our partners from Buenaventura, Putumayo and Cali could join us in Bogota.


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