April 16-20 marked 'GolYPaz week 2018: Leaders changing the game', as sport for social change groups came together in a celebration of the power of football to promote peace, reconciliation and community leadership in Colombia.
From Monday 16th to Wednesday 18th, the biggest meeting of community leaders trained in football for peace methodologies ever conducted in Colombia took place. Over 100 leaders including victims of the conflict and demobilized population, met and exchanged about the implementation of football for peace projects in their territories.
The group of leaders work with more than 6,500 children, teaching them values and life skills and share powerful messages to keep them away from engaging in violent lives in Santa Marta, Barranquilla, Soacha, Bogotá, Puerto Tejada, Tarra, Cucuta, Timbiquí y Quibdó.
The community leaders all come from regions highly affected by the conflict, including victims and demobilized population in their reintegration process who have been trained in football for peace methodologies, designed and implemented for decades by organizations of the National Football for Peace network (www.golypaz.com).
During the week of the 16th to 20th, they shared the work they do in their communities, planned on the future of their projects and came up with strategies to make them sustainable over time. LaLiga española trained the attendeeds in strengthening their football training techniques to keep those children motivated around the game.
On Wednesday's closing event, the leaders took over the Bronx – Creative District where a football for peace festival took place in the afternoon. They helped continue with the objective to re-signify this place, the same way they do with so many fields around the country.
On the Friday, some of the leaders attended Cumbre Futbol (www.cumbrefutbol.com) and played an unprecedented match to re-launch Fundacion Selección Colombia and its campaign towards the Russia 2018 world cup - “Abrazo de Gol” (goal hug) that motivates new partners from the public and private sector to join and collaborate to take more football for peace programs to more communities.
The game included leaders trained in football for peace, representatives of organizations that have joined the campaign and influencers that helped tell the whole country that these leaders are changing the game.