MOVILIZATORIO and EL AVISPERO: Kickstarting a New Social Movement in Colombia

December 2, 2016

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2016 has been a tumultuous year. We are witnessing waves of hatred, human rights abuses and the devastating effects of climate change all over the planet. In a newsfeed where cynicism, intolerance and polarization seem to conceal any positive feelings remaining in the world, the peace deal in Colombia has given us a much-needed dose of hope.

The historical peace agreement with the FARC guerrilla promises to end a 50 yearlong conflict with a toll of more than 8 million victims. The agreement has already led to an astounding decrease in death rates and a renewed sense of optimism in the country. However, after so many years of war, Colombian civil society is divided and weakened; Colombia’s main challenge for the years to come will be finding creative ways to mend their social fabric, torn by years of violence.

Purpose has recognized this challenge and in its desire to ignite, inspire and support the greatest movements of the 21st century, has started MOVILIZATORIO – a lab for civic engagement in Colombia. This lab aims to become the epicenter of new forms of civic action targeted at solving some of Colombia’s most pressing issues, such as the environmental degradation, the corruption and the barriers for education. Through MOVILIZATORIO, Purpose seeks to transfer its know-how to Colombia, at a time when citizen power has never been more important to shaping the country’s future.

The lab’s first initiative, EL AVISPERO, is a community of change agents committed to collectively build a more tolerant, sensible and inclusive society. Through the digital platform elavisperomov.org, citizens can make change, improvement and transformation happen by being part of the community, building their own campaigns, sharing messages and inspiring others to action.colombia1

Members of MOVILIZATORIO supported the mass protests in Colombia from Times Square in New York 

 

To date, EL AVISPERO reunites more than 9,000 people, including more than 200 influencers and leaders from 17 Colombian cities and 18 cities abroad. This potent network connects citizens interested in different topics and serves as a platform to amplify their initiatives. For example, after the rejection of the first version of the peace deal in a plebiscite held on 2nd October this year, El AVISPERO grew to become the hub and center of operations of the countless civic initiatives aimed at supporting the pursue of a new peace treaty and the defense of the cease fire between the FARC and the Colombian Army.colombia2

The “peace-camp” in Bogota’s Plaza de Bolivar reminded to the Government the urgency of getting to a new agreement with the FARC, after the fist deal was rejected in a plebiscite.Source: Facebook Campamento Por la Paz

 

Through the use of technology and social media, El AVISPERO was able to support activities such as the massive manifestations in support of peace that spread around Colombia after the plebiscite, the nonviolent camp that occupied Bogota’s main square for the almost 40 days that passed between the first and the second peace deal, and more recently, a civic initiative to corroborate that members of the Congress would show up in time for the sessions where the new peace deal was going to be approved.colombia3

With pictures of each member of the Colombian Congress, citizens made a public attendance call for the session where the new peace deal was going to be voted. Source: Facebook Revista Liber   

 

Next year, MOVILIZATORIO will continue developing projects to empower and connect leaders in different regions of Colombia, testing innovative strategies to promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence and creating knowledge about the challenges and opportunities for the Colombian civil society. Meanwhile, El AVISPERO will continue to strengthen its capacity to coordinate and bring support to the causes that Colombians consider important for the future of their country. colombia4

Thousands of protesters filled Bogota’s main square after the peace deal with the FARC was rejected on a plebiscite. Source: Reporteros Asociados

The events that happened in Colombia in the past months and the citizen’s efforts to ensure a prompt negotiated solution to the armed conflict constitute only one example of what an organized civic society is capable of achieving. MOVILIZARIO will be Purpose’s contribution to the development of a united, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Colombia, and El AVISPERO, the home of an engaged, coordinated and effective civil society.


Lina Torres MOVILIZATORIO Fellow