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Partner Guest Post

Peace Neighborhoods: A Gateway To Peaceful Colombia!

4th February 2016

Escaping into the small colorful alleys of Barlovento, Barranquilla, passing the labyrinthine bumpy streets of Colombia’s fourth most populous city after Bogotá, Medellín and Cali we entered the hidden world of ‘Peace Neighborhoods’.

‘Peace Neighborhoods’ (Barrios de Paz) project started in 2014, when MasterPeace Colombia identified that the shortest way to peaceful Colombia, starts with peaceful barrios, which is safe neighborhood! The clubs started working on a project that aims to create a peace-culture amongst youth in vulnerable and conflict sensitive areas in large cities.

The project is centered on social intervention that methodologically uses teaching art to eliminate violence in the neighborhood, by getting young people involved in art projects instead of lingering around the streets engaging in gang violence, the idea is to use art to promote peace.

A ‘Barrios’ in Colombia, is usually a term that used for any urban area neighborhood whose geographical limits are determined locally. The term does not have any social class condition or overtones, as it is used to refer to working-class areas as well as those populated by the well-to-do.

With the support of national and mainly community-based organizations, local people participate in a program that includes theater plays, storytelling presentations, paint workshop citizen co-creation and performances of the talents of the neighborhood.

The training program is designed from psychological, sociological, cultural and artistic perspectives by collaborating with local artists together within the local community. The project is successfully piloted in neighborhoods of Barlovento, La Central and Villamaría in Barranquilla, and in Plato, Magdalena.

Joining the program, young people who are usually gang members need to promise two things: 1- not to be engaged in violence actions during the program time 2- attend all sessions, if one member was proven involved in any violence the program gets canceled for the whole neighborhood, and that to create monitoring and accountability within everyone.

The reconstruction of the social cohesion is not sustainable without strengthening a culture of peace.  ‘Peace Neighborhoods’ focuses on the job in symbols and cultural values about life in communities in vulnerable neighborhoods. 

Know more on MasterPeace projects, Visit www.masterpeace.org

 

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