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Education for dialogue and capacity building of children and youth as mediators for denormalizing violence: “MULTIMEDIANDO”

16/01/2020
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UNESCO Quito has implemented, in partnership with the Ibero-American Institute of Natural and Cultural Heritage, “Andres Bello” Agreement (IPANC- CAB), an innovative transmedia project named “MULTIMEDIANDO”. This platform empowers 8 to 13 year old girls and boys to embrace and promote a culture of peace through peer mediation tools. In the words of Gianella, an 11-year-old student who participated in this experience as a mediator: “(…) In “MULTIMEDIANDO”, we learned a method that has helped us to solve problems with reflection, understanding and respect for each other”.

UNESCO promotes Global Citizenship Education (GCE) and peacekeeping, to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, targets 4.5 on elimination of gender inequality in education and 4.7, aimed at providing students with the necessary knowledge and tools to build a culture of peace and nonviolence. It refers to the feeling of belonging to a wider community and a common humanity. It is a way of understanding, acting and relating to others and the environment, in space and time, based on universal ethical values of respect for diversity and pluralism.

In light of the above, the education system is called to develop confidence-generating mechanisms among its members. Schools and educational institutions have the potential to become spaces that can wide affective and creative capacities of human beings. In this context, UNESCO Quito fosters the GCE by underscoring new methodologies, designing and implementing programmes, acknowledging best practices and supporting Ecuador in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this line of action, UNESCO Quito has implemented, in partnership with the Ibero-American Institute of Natural and Cultural Heritage, “Andres Bello” Agreement (IPANC- CAB), an innovative transmedia project named “MULTIMEDIANDO”.

In Ecuador 60% of children have been victims of violence in schools, according to a study published by the UN Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC). This means that 3 out of 5 children have suffered insults, threats, robbery or physical violence in schools. In order to address this serious situation “MULTIMEDIANDO” empowers 8 to 13 year old girls and boys to embrace and promote a culture of peace through peer mediation tools. In order to achieve this purpose, both: an innovative transmedia tool and a web platform (www.multi-mediando.com) have been developed along with face-to-face training sessions.

A pilot was implemented in Esmeraldas and Sucumbíos, at the Northern Border of Ecuador with Colombia. Esmeraldas, in particular, faces up enormous challenges related to violence, poverty and human mobility. The Survey on the perception of security (National Institute of Statistics and Census, 2011) reveals that 12 of every 100 persons report having been victims of a crime in Esmeraldas and Sucumbios.

In such context prone to violence, a peer mediation process was designed and implemented to address a conflict situation that arose between two students and friends. Yanibé and a friend threw stones on the roof of a classroom and one of them hit their classroom mate Jenifer. This was the starting point of a confrontation that led them to a situation of physical violence. Gianella, an 11-year-old student, was the mediator of the conflict by using the resources and tools provided by “MULTIMEDIANDO”. Gianella shares her experience: “There are many ways to react when we have to deal with a problem in our home, school or community. In “MULTIMEDIANDO”, we learned a method that has helped us to solve problems with reflection, understanding and respect for each other”.

In July 2017, “MULTIMEDIANDO” was distinguished as the "Best Interactive Production" category, awarded by the Latin America Television Regional Network (TAL) in Montevideo, Uruguay.  In August 2018, “MULTIMEDIANDO” was chosen as a finalist “Platform Category”, in the framework of the Interactive comKids Festival 2018, held in São Paulo, Brazil.

UNESCO Quito will continue its work and support to CGE and cultural competencies initiatives in Ecuador and in the Latin American region.