By: Laura García Giraldo
After experiencing situations of violence, distrust, drug addiction and lack of opportunities, some communities around the world have found a way of transformation in social and creative entrepreneurship.
The English organization In Place Of War (IPOW) compiled some of these entrepreneurial experiences in countries such as Brazil, Egypt, Colombia and Nigeria, and created a course called CASE: Creative and Social Entrepreneurship Program.
The CASE book is a document with tens of pages that serves as a guide and reference material for young people from different parts of the world to learn about social and creative entrepreneurship, how to realize a business idea based on creativity and collaborative work, and how to explore alternative financing mechanisms without relying solely on state grants and the help of international cooperation agencies.
Teresa Ó Brádaigh Bean, director of research and education at In Place Of War, says that the CASE project was born after observing that in many areas where there is conflict, artistic and creative projects have been spurred by young people seeking solutions and alternatives for those adversities that communities face. However, these projects are mostly halted due to lack of resources.
«Many of these projects are examples of resistance and innovation, which makes them worthy of being shared so that other people learn and are inspired by them. In fact, several of these examples are from Medellín and Comuna 13 itself,» says Teresa.
With CASE, In Place Of War is betting that young people make their projects truly sustainable.
Since 2015, CASE has been carried out in countries in Europe (Greece, Sweden, Germany, in the United Kingdom with refugees from Syria and Bosnia), the Middle East (Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria, Tunis, Morocco, Egypt) and Africa (Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe)
The course is available in English, Arabic and Spanish.
In 2019, IPOW arrived in Medellín and selected four non-profit organizations to replicate the CASE course in Comunas 8 and 13 (Belencito, El Socorro and El Salado) and Corrigimento de San Antonio del Prado (Limonar 2), where They identified needs and potentials.
These communities in Medellín are the first to take the CASE course in the Spanish version. And that was how Lluvia de Orión corporation took over the implementation in Comuna 13 of the city.
With an intensive work between the months of January and February 2020, ten young people from various neighborhoods of the Comuna 13 gathered in the Centro Occidental library of the El Salado neighborhood to learn about social and creative entrepreneurship, master concepts unknown to them, propose their own entrepreneurial projects and empower themselves with their creative ideas.
Rap with R of recycling
Jeferson is a 17-year-old who is currently validating 10th and 11th years of high school. He was part of the CASE course in Comuna 13 and already has his idea of entrepreneurship, as did his other nine classmates. His proposal is about a musical event with an open microphone and rap battles.
The attractive aspect of this proposal is the method of payment to enter: bring any recycling object, can be copper, tin, scrap, etc. On the other hand, to carry out the event, sound equipment, stage installations, among others are needed.
«These requirements can be achieved with entities where you propose the project and they decide if they want to support, either on a sports field or in a public space in the Comuna of San Javier,» says Jeferson. He points out that his idea can be done with the collaboration of other projects in the area that are more consolidated. «Casa Kolacho and Revolución Sin Muertos are corporations of Comuna 13 that have equipment that they could lend or rent. That would happen with a capital that must be raised, or through alliances, ” he says.
Entrepreneurship is on the go
For Valeria Montoya, the most important thing she learnerd at the CASE experience was to understand the financial part of a project. “To undertake in a creative way is not only to contribute a social good but also to pay with monetary gains to maintain the project incentived,” she says.
On the other hand, the friends and relatives of the student Alexis consider that CASE was an opportunity to improve and develop more knowledge in something productive. “My project idea is related to a mime show, however, the best thing about CASE was to listen to the spectacular ideas of my colleagues.”
IPOW and the creation of the CASE
«We take advantage of our privileged situation of having been able to travel through many corners of the world to consolidate the CASE proposal. Together with the University of Manchester, a channel has been generated for the exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge among communities from different corners of the world,» mentions Teresa Ó Brádaigh Bean.
According to Teresa, the CASE idea has roots in Medellín. Ten years ago, Teresa and her partner Ruth Daniel worked as artists in Medellín to hold an event called Un-convention.
One of the comments on the artistic program they carried out was: «the event was very good; we shared a lot and enjoyed the knowledge of the guests but they came and then left.» And that was a spark that highlighted the need to share ideas, knowledge and skills in a way that can remain in the community.
CASE has a course for trainers to strengthen their teaching capacity in their communities. And that was what happened with the director of Lluvia de Orión, Róbinson Úsuga Henao, who had the mission of educating the 10 young people who are currently looking forward to carrying out their projects (with the support of the journalist and teacher, Mariluz Palacio , and the business administrator of the Eafit University, José Méndez).
For Róbinson, CASE generated the opportunity for social and creative entrepreneurship courses to be integrated into the Social Line of his organization. And more in a Comuna like 13, where people from other parts of the country have come to create business without generating opportunities for young people in the territory.
«For us in Lluvia de Orión this course represents a new milestone: the opportunity to start training young people in entrepreneurship, something we wanted for a couple of years. We have been an organization that has done memory pedagogy among the young population, but now we are also interested in becoming a resilient organization that generates opportunities, especially for young people from territories affected by conflict and violence, such as the Comuna 13. CASE strengthens us as a training organization in entrepreneurship, something that we seek to consolidate ,» says Róbinson Úsuga Henao.