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The peace circus - a peace building collaboration with War Child

Project time period

20182021

For over 60 years, Colombia has been in the midst of an internal armed conflict involving various armed groups. The harshness of the Colombian conflict has had intergenerational repercussions, causing violence to be a social phenomenon that has been normalized among citizens, including children. With support from the H&M Foundation, War Child have run a project in the province Putumayo, to break the culture of violence.

When a person is raised in a violent environment her/his social and emotional development is affected. The terrifying experiences of war and violence faced by young children can thus have lasting consequences. Growing up in conflict or in situations of chronic violence, children risk psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress and – in the youngest of children – toxic stress.

Every child in the world has the right to an education without fear of violence or attack. Every school should be a safe place for children to learn, play and fulfil their potential. But the truth is children in Colombia have their education disrupted – by conflicts, bullying and other forms of violence. Instead of being a protective environment for children, Colombian schools are a place of apparent promotion of violence and intimidation. The violence occurring at school has a demoralizing impact on the student’s behaviour that are transferred to their everyday relations.

In view of this reality, there is a tremendous need to promote attitudes, practices, and beliefs aimed at transforming the culture of violence that has taken root over the years in Colombia.

Every child in the world has the right to an education without fear of violence or attack.

War Child is an independent international non-governmental organization, investing in a peaceful future for children affected by armed conflicts. In 2018 War Child set up a so called Peace Circus in ten villages in Putumayo. The Putumayo province is located in the south of the country and has one of the highest rates of violence and human rights violations related to the armed conflicts.

The ten villages participated in the transformation of their school and community environments through War Child´s travelling circus tent. War Child worked in close cooperation with the schools and invites children and teachers to embrace art for peace through play, theatre techniques, visual arts, music, games and more. These initiatives will foster attitudes and the construction of relations build on respect, democracy, tolerance and non-violence in an environment where children feel protected.

2,400

children participated in the Peace Circus training and have strengthened their life skills and artistic skills for peaceful coexistence.

100

teachers and members of schools benefitted from locally adapted tools for peace education.

1

minimum standard for peace education for the province of Putumayo was established and schools are assisted in the implementation process of peace education.

Project Specifics

  • Total Donation: 6 million SEK
  • Program Period: 20182021
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Countries: Colombia
  • Focus Areas: Education
  • Partners: War Child
  • People directly reached: 2,500