Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Armando Paz

Prevention is a key to reducing the level of violence in El Salvador, and various programs are working with youth to help promote a non-violent future.

Walking around San Salvador I was struck by the number of signs with this message. "Hay algo que quieras cambiar?" -- "Is there something you want to change" and directing the reader to the website "Armando Paz" or "Fortifying Peace" is a venture of the Organization of American States, USAID, MTV, and Trust for the Americas, among other organizations. With extensive use of social media, the program represents an attempt to involve youth to solve the problems facing their generation. The program aims to build a culture of peace, opening spaces to share the messages and opinions of the youth, which are describing positive initiatives to change the situation of the country. The program has proceeded from collecting project ideas from youth through its website to now conducting forums with hundreds of youth to discuss their ideas and projects. Armando Paz is being run in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama.

Another way to fortify peace is through community youth programs. The government is promoting communities working together with security forces on programs targeted at youth. I attended one such event last Sunday in Tonacatapeque. Youth from four communities on 11 different teams came together for a soccer tournament. The event was put together by the communities, the Lutheran church and the Ministry of Public Security. The ministry furnished the uniforms and the trophies for the tournament. It was a peaceful celebration of youth and sport, and a positive example of what is possible.

1 comment:

Senor Pescado said...

excellent program!

thanks for sharing
have fun in El Salvador