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Lady, participant of the PaZacopa

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With Peace We Learn More

The girl with the blue shirt is Lady*, she is in 8th grade at the School César Conto of Bellavista, goalscorer of the "PaZacopa" disputed among 361 children and young people from different schools of Bojayá, Choco. Town known worldwide for the slaughter of 117 civilians, including 47 minors, into a church and as result of the explosion of a "barrel bomb" thrown in by members of the guerrilla group (FARC-EP) Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2002.

The program With Peace We Learn More gets to work with children, youth, teachers and the whole community to improve the quality of education and protection around the school. More than soccer goals, the importance of this “PaZacopa”, development for the program, was that the participants learned how to include girls in football and recognized core values such as teamwork, fair play, leadership, effort, decision making, responsibility, patience, self control, self reflection and active listening.

Lady, with 14 goals in 3 games, was crowned like the goal top scorer. Her companions were so proud her that she was asked to collect all the trophies. They learned to win and lose, and especially to live with rules of coexistence and gender inclusion.

Since these strategies with youth, Mercy Corps builds social fabric in the most remote areas of Colombia where the government and the institutions do not come, because of the distance or the conflict. We work with the program in Chocó and Putumayo, vulnerable rural areas at risk of relapse into conflict and drug trafficking.