Colombia: when football turns into a weapon of peace

On November 13 and 14, hundreds of young people were able to participate in an exceptional edition of the Friendship Games in Colombia and together discover the positive values ​​of sport.

Form a bulwark against the lack of opportunities for young people and the many risks to which they are exposed. This is the mission that Peace and sport has given itself. Used to working on the planet to come to the aid of populations often affected by tragedies (wars, violence, etc.), the international organization, which aims to use sport to promote and defend the values ​​of peace, has thus organized these Games jointly with the Colombian Ministry of Sports.

This gathering took place within the framework of the “Peacemakers Project”, an international program carried out by Peace and Sport in ten countries. As part of this global initiative, the Colombian NGO COP Colombia (COP for Constructors of Peace, editor’s note) uses football as a tool for dialogue and social inclusion.

over 2.5 million children affected by violence

For the occasion, 300 young participants were able to discover the positive values ​​of sport. The first event took place at Campincito Stadium, in Bogota, and the second at Aurora Stadium, in Usme.

Why did you organize this event? Quite simply because the youth of Colombia have been affected for too long by the consequences of an armed conflict – which ended in 2016, with the signing of a historic peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP, ( the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) -. The Victims Unit, the body responsible for the care and reparation of victims of armed conflict, estimates that more than 2.5 million children have been affected by violence. The vulnerable situation and the lack of opportunities for young people have led to an increased risk of recruitment into armed groups and the formation of youth gangs. Currently, young Colombians are highly exposed to the risks of dropping out of school, drug addiction, early pregnancy and prostitution.

« This 12e edition of the Friendship Games celebrated the six months of the implementation of the Peacemakers Project and it focused on the empowerment and engagement of Colombian youth through sport, explains Laurent Dupont, CEO of Peace and Sport. NGOs are an essential channel for providing feedback on the needs of the target population and the impacts of policies and programs put in place. They take a leadership role in promoting the practical integration of sport for development and peace on the ground. ”



And the results of this operation are obviously very positive. “Since the launch of the program, 15 peace workers have been trained in the Peace and Sport Methodology and 200 children have participated in peace through sport activities,” said Hugo Florez, director of international relations at Cop Colombia. The use of this structured methodology, via the MyCoach mobile application (from Peace and sport), had a direct impact on the quality of the sports sessions. We are extremely satisfied with the first results of its implementation and we are eager to extend the program to other areas, in Bogota but also throughout the Colombian territory. ”

Note Bene: The 2021 Peace and Sport Awards will be announced from December 7 to 11.

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