During the last three months of the Children´s Land implementation in La Gabriela, Medellín, 60 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12 got further training in environmental education, natural resources management and artistic expressions. The adult committee which will protect the children after AMICHOCÓ leaves the field has been consolidated, activities like self image workhsops for women and leadership skills workshops have been developed and the group of adults who voluntarily joined the training workshops has graduated. The Children´s Land officially has a team of adults that will take care of the project’s sustainability and that will replicate the experience within the community.
Additionally, an event room is being constructed in the Children´s Land so the boys and girls can have a safe space to continue working on their environmental education skills and celebrate meetings and gatherings.
These will be AMICHOCO´s last interventions in La Gabriela, since the project is mature enough and its leaders sufficiently empowered to take over and assure its sustainability. We would like to thank everybody who helped this project come true and be such a success; every donation, every volunteer played a crucial role in this 24 month adventure and AMICHOCÓ is extremely grateful for all the support it received.
Thanks to our donors, allies and friends the Children´s Land initiative has become one of AMICHOCÓ´s most important projects; during 2011 we plan to take the program to 4 other municipalities in the Colombian Chocó Bioregion, starting with the municipality of Turbo in late February, 2011.
For the last 24 months, AMICHOCÓ has been implementing its Children´s land project in the community of La Gabriela in Medellín, Colombia. Through a series of training sessions, fieldtrips and workshops, 48 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12 have developed a deep connection with their environment, learned about their rights as Colombian citizens and identified their roles as changemakers in their society.
During the last 3 months, 48 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12 from our Children´s Land in the community of La Gabriela in Medellin´s 13th commune, participated in various educational and recreational activities. Environmental education workshops were given and the children had the opportunity to plant and grow local plants; specific activities were carried out regarding the bush species that were planted in the Children´s Land. A children´s rights workshop was also given were the children learned about their rights and obligations as Colombians citizens.
During the local festivity “Feria de las Flores” artistic activities were developed and the boys and girls had the chance to participate of the local culture by designing and creating their own silleta, a traditional handicraft made from flowers by the rural inhabitants of Medellín.
The children´s committee, made up of a delegation of the beneficiary boys and girls met to re organize the entity, design and develop new representative elections and evaluate their work so far.
Additionally, the training of the adults that will continue with the project has continued and they are now empowered and ready to replicate the methodology.
This year “Children´s Land” has focused on strengthening local institutions in order to develop the activities and to guarantee the project sustainability in the long term. In the second quarter of 2010 the project completed a training process with a group of people of the community La Gabriela in Medellin; as a result of this capacity building activities, the project achieved the graduation of twelve Children´s Land promoters of in the community.
With the skills they developed, these promoters made a consultation process with the children about the activities that they wish to develop in the coming months. Currently, the promoters are developing a training proposal that involves the children interests and the results from the consultation process.
During the last 3 months we have been working on strengthening the communities and leader´s abilities in order to assure the project´s sustainability.
In Tadó we worked on sensitizing young men and women who are interested in continuing to work with our children and who can potential become the Children´s Land safe keepers. A knowledge transfer was also carried out with members of the Local Community Council (ASOCASÁN) to empower this ethnic administrative organization and to have it back up and assist further activities in the Children’s Land.
In Medellín we designed and developed a series of training sessions and workshops with the Children´s Lands local staff; additionally a children´s rights workshop was developed with the community.
Finally the first Children´s Land story for Colombia was designed and it is know being published. The story was structured with the help of the children and the community members, who came up with the plot line the characters and their names. Our first story is called Mambé and the sun stone; Mambé is the story´s main character (a native chocoan frog), Chamí is his best friend (a hummingbird) and Brisa and Astro are the local children that are also involved in the adventure.
The project provided children from Tadó and Condoto with the skills necessary to better handle their interpersonal relations, work as a team and think collectively. In both Children´s Land, a government body was decided and elected by the children, the land was distributed and allocated for different purposes, a flag, anthem and logo were agreed upon and artistic and cultural activities were developed (Tadó currently has a dance group that began as an initiative in our Children´s Land).
The project has successfully provided children from Tadó and Medellin with an appropriate space for recreation and learning activities. In Tadó a meeting house was constructed so that the children could have a cool and appropriate place for meetings and workshops. In Medellín, volunteers from Bancolombia, one of our local donors, helped in the design and construction of an orchard and recycling station.
Before the Children´s Land project was implemented, children in Tadó and La Gabriela had little or poor knowledge about their local natural environment and its importance. Through creative and outdoors activities, the children were able to identify local fauna and flora and water sources; and through environmental workshops they learned about their importance and how to make a proper se of them.
“Adult Committees” were formalized in both Children´s Land and have remained active throughout the project´s execution. These committees are indispensable for the project´s sustainability because they are responsible for looking out for the children and their rights.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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