23 May 2017

The story so far

 

Over 50 years of conflict have drawn a deep rift through Colombian society with ex combatants of illegal armed forces and their victims struggling to redefine each other as neighbours after battling it out as enemies for so long. In 2016 streetfootballworld launched the project entitled “Football for Peace and Reconciliation” with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, in cooperation with the German Embassy in Colombia, the Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR) and the Unit for Attention and Integral Reparation for Victims (UARIV) to unite these former antagonists. The pilot was carried out by three streetfootballworld network members: Fútbol con Corazón, Colombianitos and Fundación Tiempo de Juego

 

The impact

 

Since the project’s initiation, 48 former rebels, victims of armed conflict and community leaders have acquired educational and practical techniques to act as "football for peace and reconciliation" trainers. These individuals have developed a new view of their role in society and work to develop their competences as community leaders. They have been trained together, as one team, sending a powerful message of reconciliation with football providing the pretext for them to meet and collaborate.  Through these young leaders, 5,028 children and young people from affected communities have acquired life skills by participating in sport for peace activities, that both inhibit the ability of illegal armed groups to recruit them and promote their life-long development with a focus on peace education.  

 

“This project gave me the opportunity to contribute to peace,” said a former member of a Guerilla group, to change my life, to be seen differently.” A female victim, who had suffered sexual abuse during the conflict, stated that, for her, the project had spelled “a new beginning” and that she had even been offered a job at the Agency for Reconciliation: “I can do this now, I can help people that in the past did terrible things to me and people like me, and I can do it because I believe now that peace comes from within, and I now have a mission to change lives, to change the world, all because of football.”

 

Next steps

 

The project, that has recently been granted funding to embark on a second term, was selected by Compromiso Empresarial, with the collaboration of CAF (The Development Bank of Latin America), as one of  the 10 best social initiatives of 2016, among more than 350 inspiring projects from Latin America.

 

On 22nd May the project was nominated for yet another prize, making it on to the Beyond Sport Global Awards Official Shortlist, that showcases 37 organizations successfully using sport to promote and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Selected among 300 applications from 70 countries, “Football for Peace and Reconciliation” has been listed with three other projects in the category “Sport for Peace and Social Justice”. The winner will be announced on 26th July in New York. Watch this space!

 

For more information about the project visit www.golypaz.com