Friendship Games Colombia 2023: Celebrating unity and social inclusion through sport in Usme
The third edition of the Friendship Games organized by Cop Colombia as part of the Peacemakers Project, brought together children, Peace Educators, colombian athletes and Champions for Peace to celebrate the major impact of sport on creating a culture of peace in Usme, Colombia.
Peace Educators took part in the 3rd cycle of training on the Peace and Sport Methodology, strengthening their capacity to implement structured sport-based sessions in new neighborhoods, with the support of the Alcaldia Local de Usme.
Additional sports, Basketball and Rugby, introduced on this occasion are set to impact 16 new clubs, marking a significant step towards community empowerment and scale-up project.
Showcasing the Peace and Sport Methodology in action with Champions for Peace
The Friendship Games 2023 saw the participation of engaged athletes and Champions for Peace, including Taekwondo Olympic Medallist and Representative of the Champions for Peace Club, Marlene Harnois, Former Captain of the French Baskteball team and European Champion, Florent Pietrus, and Former French Rugby Player Hugo Bonneval. These committed Champions, shared their skills and experiences with the enthusiastic participants, creating a ripple effect of inspiration.
They participated in sports activities using the Peace and Sport Methodology. Football, Rugby, Basketball, and Taekwondo took center stage, illustrating how these sports can serve as powerful tool for peace and social inclusion.
The commitment, enthusiasm, and collaborative spirit displayed by Champions for Peace, kids, Peace Educators, local institutions and partners alike have set the stage for even more impactful peace through sport programs in the future in Usme.
Conference on sport as a tool for social transformation
The event started with a conference in partnership with Defensoria del Pueblo, dedicated to sport as a tool for social transformation. The conference addressed three pivotal topics:
The role of professional athletes in sport for development and peace projects: Exploring how athletes can be mentor to serve as catalysts for positive change, inspiring and influencing communities towards a collective goal of peace and development. Colombian sport stars engaged as Ambassadors for the right to sport, such as Faryd Mandragon and Chechy Baeana, joined Champions for Peace in sharing their inspiring stories of social commitment.
The power of coalitions to achieve social development goals: Emphasizing the strength of collaborations and partnerships in achieving broader societal objectives, particularly in the realm of social development through sports.
The impact of the Peacemakers Project in Colombia: Gerson Florez, founder of Constructors of Peace and coordinator of the Peacemakers reflects on the tangible and transformative outcomes of the Peacemakers Project, with first hand testimonies from Peace Educators and children participating in the weekly sessions based on the Peace and Sport Methodology since 2021.