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Online Toolkit

Part 3 - The Peace Bag Partners, Projects, and Peacebuilders

Spain

Fundació Catalunya Voluntària is a youth-led foundation working in promoting solidarity, volunteering and intercultural learning through the organisation of youth exchanges, training courses and networking seminars. The organisation believes that it is through giving personal time, effort, and energy that one can create better living conditions for those people in need, as well as grow into a mature and responsible individual. It was founded in October 2007, though its origins can be rooted in the formation of Barcelona Voluntaria, a youth non-profit organisation established in 1999, which manages volunteers and promotes solidarity and intercultural projects at an international level.

Clam per la Pau, which stands for Voices for Peace, is the peace and human rights program of the Fundació Catalunya Voluntària, whose main objective is to educate the public and promote social consciousness and awareness about the Culture of Peace. This is being done by creating new spaces for collaboration among young people, NGOs and schools in order to carry activities related to peacebuilding. More specifically, the programme works in three lines of action – campaign and awareness raising, capacity building and training, and local and international networking.

The Foundation aims to enhance the participation of youth in voluntary, social and intercultural activities that serve as instruments for non-formal education. It is involved in different projects that provide cultural understanding among youth. Furthermore, it focuses its work in administering and implementing projects in the Euro-Mediterranean area.


CLAM PER LA PAU (Voices for Peace)

Peace advocacy and awareness campaign

Clam, the Catalan word for 'shout' or 'loud voice' is the foundation's mainstay and annual campaign for peace. The project contributes to Catalonia as a reference point in building global peace, and recognizes the value of youth volunteering as an essential element for creating and promoting it.

Every year, the campaign takes place within the week of 21 September (in celebration of International Day of Peace*), including the 24th of September, which is the annual festival of Barcelona called the Festa de la Mercè.

The Festa de la Mercè in Barcelona is the festival of festivals, where hundreds of activities are lined up in its 3-day celebration - including street arts, acrobatic exhibitions, circus for kids, traditional dances, music and never ending concerts. The festival is centered on celebrating Mediterranean culture, and became popular because of the participation of organisations from all over Barcelona.

Young volunteers gather in a white tent in the grounds of the Castle of Montjuic, giving the public an opportunity to share their "messages for peace" by drawing, writing, or coloring paper doves. These paper doves are exhibited in the tent for the duration of the activity. People, young and old, personalise their paper doves with messages for peace. Simultaneous discussions are held with kids and parents, and promotion of different peace initiatives are shared with the public. Posters and other information materials about the culture of peace are spread around the tent to raise awareness of the concepts related to peace, and the definition of a culture of peace according to UNESCO.

Volunteers engage the kids to share what peace means to them. "The sight of children drawing their peace messages together, sharing coloring materials, and communicating with each other – has shown me an example of solidarity – how people also share the vision of peace", said one of our youth volunteers. We gather volunteers one week before the campaign to give them a basic orientation about peace, human rights, and intercultural dialogue, and also to enjoy some 'getting to know each other' activities.

We invite institutions and organisations to help us implement the campaign in their own communities, and hope to launch an online campaign so people from all over the world can express their messages for peace!

The 'clams' or messages are stored both physically and digitally. The campaign gives the public the possibility to spread their messages for peace around the world: as their artworks are included in a virtual exhibition on our website. Collected "clams" are featured in a gallery, accompanied by some of the children themselves making their messages. We also feature these messages through laser projection at night.

The campaign is for everyone! Children, students, youth, parents, teachers and even politicians have come to our tent to make their peace messages. It is very participative and inclusive – as peace should be! Another feature of the campaign is its mobility. We have brought it to 4 different events in 2010 – all we need are copies of blank paper doves, coloring materials, and volunteers who are willing to devote their time to the cause. It has reached local libraries and schools in Barcelona ... and can be adapted by different organisations in different countries as part of their activities!

While we continue doing the campaign in September of every year, we are also compiling them for exhibitions in Catalonia and other parts of the world.


In 1981, the General Assembly of the United Nations established the International Day of Peace (IDP) through a resolution. This resolution was amended by the United Nations in 2011, setting September 21 as the official date. The intent of the resolution is to get worldwide respect for " ceasefire and nonviolence." The potential impact is enormous because it is expected that people, communities and countries in conflict to stop arms and share a full day dedicated to global peace.


Meet a Peacebuilder:

I'm Angela and I am 27. During the time I've been working in the Peacebuilding field I've had the chance to meet a lot of people working for peace in very different contexts and, sometimes, in very hard and complex situations; And their stories reached me inside. I've met men from Congo and Burundi advocating for gender as a steep toward peace, in a patriarchal society such as theirs. And I've met youth from Palestine helping children to deal with their anger in a non-violent way, with no other tool but themselves. When hearing about their first-person stories, their experiences get into your heart, almost without realizing it. They become a small but strong voice deep down; the voice that inspires you. You learn peace is both huge and small, and that it just begins within oneself. You learn everyone anywhere can do more or less and it is still worthwhile. You just keep your hope and your faith.


The country

Spain's biggest challenge is employment: the youth of Spain have been severely affected by the economic crisis, with youth unemployment reportedly reaching as high as forty percent, resulting in social distress being experienced by young people, especially for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 'Ni Ni', a Spanish abbreviation for NI estudia, NI trabaja (meaning 'not in education nor employed') are the most vulnerable section of youth.[58] [59] [60]

The evolution of peace education in Spain can be traced from 1933, when a congress took place in Santander stressing the need for education on disarmament. In time, peace education not only materialised as a need, but as a legal document. The new law aims for the integral development of students through a holistic approach, addressing different themes in education such as environment, health, morality, civics, and equality.

The Kingdom of Spain is divided into 17 autonomous communities, established in accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, which recognizes self-autonomy of the regions. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region with 7.2 million inhabitants, with Catalan as a co-official language, and, as every region in Spain, with its own Parliament, Government, Constitution (named 'Estatut'), culture and traditions. Located in the Mediterranean coastline – it has a cultural influence of the Mediterranean, as well as an active civil society – with more than 10 thousand civil society organizations supporting vulnerable groups.

Sports and football are well considered part of the Spanish culture and leisure, with famous sports icons such as Rafael Nadal (tennis), Fernando Alonso (F1), Pau Gasol (basketball), and the Catalan sport club FC Barcelona, European champion in football, handball, basketball and roller hockey.