Abriendo Caminos: a route to reduce conflicts


Friday, 4 November 2022


Alvaralice Foundation

The “Cure Violence” model, developed by epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, aims to reduce violence in vulnerable communities by conflict mediation, changing aggressive behaviors and developing a culture of peace. In 2017, the program was implemented in Cali through the public-private alliance between the Japan Special Fund through the Inter-American Development Bank – IDB-, the Mayor’s Office of Cali and the Alvaralice Foundation. The initial beneficiaries of Abriendo Caminos were the neighborhoods of Charco Azul and a few settlements in Comuneros 1. Since 2021, it was replicated in other neighborhoods in Cali, as well as in the municipalities of Palmira and Buenaventura.

Cure Violence’s model approaches violence as a public health problem, an epidemic that is transmitted by observation, imitation, environmental influence or by significant factors in the environment such as family, neighborhood and school.

Local leaders are asked to establish ties with trusted members of the community in order to detect the problems and solve them. Dialogue in these vulnerable environments is crucial in order to interrupt planned violence, mediate conflicts and avoid tragic events through the strengthening of trust.

Alejandra Vidal, coordinator of the program, points out the development of workshops and support of the leaders of each chosen sector as a strategy for the reduction of violence:

Many restorative actions take shape at the Resolution of Conflicts workshop. One of them is social mapping through which young people can determine which are the most unsafe places in their neighborhood, as well as analyzing why they are so dangerous. They can then make a plan to recover those spaces by building a social network which will help them achieve their goal of creating safe environments.

Through workshops and training, it was possible to carry out 484 community activities, impacting an average of 860 people each month throughout 2022, which served the community in its process of building social ties and reducing violence.

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