In Quibdó in northeastern Colombia’s Chocó department, ACDI/VOCA’s Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Program (ACIP) addresses violence among the city’s youth through innovative strategies that promote peace-building among vulnerable populations. As part of the program’s “Culture for Peace” efforts, ACIP builds values such as brotherhood, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence among youth and children, offering them healthy and productive activities to occupy their free time.

Meditation and Anger Management Habits Useful in School and at Home

In partnership with Colombian singer Shakira’s Pies Descalzos Foundation, ACIP has trained 30 elementary and middle school teachers to implement meditation and mental relaxation techniques within their classrooms, reaching a total of 700 children. The teachers also encourage the children to replicate the meditation and anger management habits at home with their families as a strategy to address patterns of domestic violence. One in three families in Quibdó reports physical violence at home according the University of Antioquia’s National School of Public Health.

Other “Culture for Peace” initiatives use soccer and dance to offer youth leisure time activities that further promote these healthy values. Teacher and workshop participant Yali Mosquera says that “In the workshops they taught us to breathe better; we learned about the importance of reflecting before we act and how little-by-little this can change aggressive and violent behavior.”

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Learn more about ACIP.