• Colombia: Teaching for Peace, Working for Human Rights

    Labour and Human Rights Program director with NOMADESC staff

    CoDev’s Labour and Human Rights Program Director Filiberto Celada with NOMADESC staff in Cali, Colombia. NOMADESC is CoDev’s human rights partner in southwestern Colombia.

    By Filiberto Celada (Human and Labour Rights Program Director, CoDevelopment Canada)

    During CoDev’s Schools Territories of Peace Canadian teacher delegation to Colombia, I took some members of the delegation to observe a pedagogical encounter in Monteria, Cordoba province in Colombia’s Caribbean Region. Together with teacher delegates Anjum Khan and Susan Trabant, we travelled to the conference with John Avila, former director of the Colombian Teachers Federation’s (FECODE) Centre for Education Research and Development (CEID) and Jose Luis Ortega, executive secretary of the Córdoba Teachers’ Association’s (ADEMACOR) CEID.

    FECODE and ADEMACOR organized the conference entittled: Pedagogical Movement, School Territories of Peace and III Pedagogical National Congress and 2nd Provincial Encounter of Secretariats of Pedagogical Affairs – ADEMACOR 2019. Between 15-20 teachers attended this provincial encounter at ADEMACOR facilities where members of CEID and FECODE presented an analysis of the Schools as Territories of Peace program and the education policies and agreements with the Colombian Government. The last day of the encounter, 10 teachers presented and shared their alternative pedagogical experiences within 10 different schools.

    It is important to highlight the fact that some teachers were presenting their alternative pedagogical experiences as part of their Master’s thesis in education. It was very motivating to witness that even that it was their own thesis, the teachers were open to share their methodology and results and welcomed their colleagues to use what they had developed in other schools without caring about copyrights.

    After the Schools Territories of Peace Delegation was over, I traveled to the city of Cali in southwestern Valle del Cauca province to meet with CoDev partner NOMADESC (Association for Research and Social Action). While visiting Cali I was able to:

    1) Introduce myself and meet with NOMADESC’s staff, explain CoDev’s model of partnership and international solidarity;

    2) Meet with NOMADESC’s beneficiary population: members of the community of el Jarrillon and of Buenaventura;

    3) Meet with NOMADESC’s Director Berenice Celeita to evaluate the project Comprehensive Defense of Life, Territory and Culture in Colombia.

    4) Participate as International Observer in the National Congress of the Republic of Colombia’s session in the City of Santander de Quilichao in the department of El Cauca, organized by Senator Alexander Lopez due to the acts of genocide against the indigenous guard in Colombia’s Pacific coast.

  • Colombia Delegation Learns Innovative Approaches to Peace Education

    CoDev’s Canadian Teachers’ delegation to Colombia meets with Colombian Teachers’ Federation leaders in Bogota, November 2019 – (Photo Julia Macrae)

     

    by Wendy Santizo

    CoDev accompanied a Canadian teacher delegation to visit Colombia and learn from the “Schools as Territories of Peace” project FECODE is implementing across the country. Our visit coincided with the celebration of provincial pedagogical circles encounters, where teachers shared their experiences in bringing peace education to the classroom. Pedagogical circles are made up of teachers, school principals, parents and students to discuss and create alternative pedagogies that will result in promoting peace, dialogue, conflict resolution, historical memory and democratic participation in their communities.

    The delegation split up and visited three provincial encounters in Montería, Córdoba; Cúcuta, Norte de Santander and Fusagasugá in Cundinamarca.

    Three of the experiences presented that most caught my attention were the “7 Hats”, “The Memory of the River” and “My History”.

    The first provides students with a tool they can use to analyze any conflict situation and decide how to react in a constructive way. There are seven different coloured hats, each representing a question or perspective of looking at the conflict. Once the student answers these questions, they are in a better position to talk about it and solve it in a peaceful way.
    The second is a long-term school project, it was created to recover the historical memory of the local river. It begins with students researching the history of the river, its names, where it originates, what stories are linked to the river, fiction or real, when did the contamination of the river begin and why. Today the school has created a project to protect the river and plant hundreds of trees.

    The third consists of students interviewing their grandparents or elders in the family and neighbourhoods and asking: What was school like before? What was the neighbourhood like? What is the story of their town? These stories and anecdotes are shared in the classroom and collective memories begin to be recovered, as well as stronger ties across generations.

    The delegation also had the opportunity to visit several museums and galleries including the photographic exhibition “The Witness” by Jesus Abad Colorado in the National University of Colombia. The exhibition demonstrates how communities and schools have experienced the armed conflict and were affected by multiple armed actors.
    Meetings were held with FECODE’s Executive Committee and representatives of the CUT (Colombian labour central) Executive to speak about working conditions in Colombia, the impact on workers of the entry of Colombia into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, as well as analysis around the national strike that was being prepared for November 21st.

    Among the demands of the strike are: No more tax, wage and labour reforms without consultations; An end to the killings of social and environmental leaders; the right to healthcare for teachers and their families; Strengthening of the national teachers’ social security fund, and; Implementation of agreements previously signed with the national government, that include the implementation of a diploma program for teachers in peace education and declaring schools as Territories of Peace.

    The teachers’ unions seek peace with social justice, reconciliation and truth. FECODE prepared a report with detailed cases of teachers, social leaders and unionists who were victims of systematic accusations, persecution, threats, forced disappearances and assassinations to be presented to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) as part of their commitment to the clarification of truth in Colombia.

    FECODE’s “Schools as Territories of Peace” project is facilitated by CoDevelopment Canada with support from the BC Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Secondary Teachers’ Federation, the Centrale des Syndicats du Quebec and the Surrey Teachers’ Association.

  • International Solidarity Conference 2020

    Forced Migration – Popular Education- Social Investment

    • An opportunity for international solidarity activists from CoDevelopment’s Canadian partners to exchange experiences and best practises from their international solidarity work.
    • Deepen understandings of the distinctions between development, charity, and international solidarity.
    • Develop toolkits for solidarity action in your organization.

    When: Saturday, January 25, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
    Who:    International Solidarity Committees of our Canadian partners and other interested members of CoDevelopment Canada and its partners. Where:  BC Teachers’ Federation Building, 550 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver

    Registration deadline is Monday, January 20 (more…)

  • CoDev in Solidarity with Colombian Rights Defenders and Social Leaders

    Vancouver, Canada, July 26, 2019. CoDevelopment Canada (CoDev) stands in solidarity with our Colombian partners (more…)

  • CoDev on the Crisis in Nicaragua

    Since the terrible crisis that has wracked Nicaragua since mid-April first erupted, CoDev, fearful of taking actions that could exacerbate divisions or abet US destabilization in the region, has restricted ourselves to simply posting information from our Nicaraguan partners. (more…)

CUPE Delegation to Cuba – Reflections

CUPE Delegation with SNTAP Reps.

During the week of November 10-16, 2019, CoDev Executive Director, Steve Stewart traveled to Cuba with delegates from CUPE National and CUPE BC. What follows are a series of “reflections” written by the delegates shedding light on their experiences and thoughts as they met with their brothers and sisters in Cuba.

Since 1998, CoDev has coordinated the partnership between the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Havana province section of the National Union of Public Administration Workers (SNTAP-Havana). With the most recent 5-year CUPE-supported project wrapping up this year – a shop steward training program that included the renovation and equipping of training classrooms at the union’s offices in different Havana municipalities – CoDev organized a delegation of CUPE representatives to meet their Havana partners. The project with SNTAP is supported by both CUPE National and CUPE BC, and representatives of both made-up the five-person delegation. (more…)

International Solidarity Conference 2020

Forced Migration – Popular Education- Social Investment

  • An opportunity for international solidarity activists from CoDevelopment’s Canadian partners to exchange experiences and best practises from their international solidarity work.
  • Deepen understandings of the distinctions between development, charity, and international solidarity.
  • Develop toolkits for solidarity action in your organization.

When: Saturday, January 25, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Who:    International Solidarity Committees of our Canadian partners and other interested members of CoDevelopment Canada and its partners. Where:  BC Teachers’ Federation Building, 550 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver

Registration deadline is Monday, January 20 (more…)

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Building Partnerships for Global Justice

CoDevelopment Canada is a B.C.-based NGO that works for social change and global education in the Americas. Founded in 1985 by a group of activists who wanted to go beyond financial aid, CoDev builds partnerships between like-minded organizations in Canada and Latin America to foster learning, social change, and community empowerment.  These partnerships educate Canadians about Latin America and allow them to directly support the region. Such connections build solidarity, mutual understanding and ultimately improve prospects for a fairer global order.

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