Colombia: Teaching for Peace, Working for Human Rights

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.

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.

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.

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