Grupo de Teatro Esquina Latina

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Public Statement 2016

Title Youth, Theatre and Community: Narrating and Acting "Rights" for Peace
Type of organization NGO
Country Colombia
Duration  Two years
IAF Funding   $320,000
Counterpart Committed $511,472
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries
Direct: 300
Indirect:37,600
Primary program areas Education/Training; Cultural Expression

Organization
The Grupo de Teatro Esquina Latina (TEL) was founded in 1978 as a non-profit theater group based in Cali, Colombia. TEL is governed by a general assembly of 12 members that every two years elects a board of five directors responsible for establishing the operational structure and program direction. The board appoints a general and executive director, and is supported by an advisory council made up of representatives from different sectors and areas within the city and the region. Within the operational structure of the group there are three teams: the artistic team, administrative team, and technical team—many of whom have themselves began as participants in programs from TEL’s target neighborhoods.

TEL has received funding from Cordaid (Holland), Stichting Foundation, and War Child-WCH Hollanda, as well as Ecofondo, Fondo Mixto para el Valle del Cauca, and Corpovalle in Colombia. It has also partnered with Colombian government ministries, regional and municipal authorities.

In 1995 the IAF awarded the “Dante Fascell scholarship of excellence” to Orlando Cajamarca, TEL’s director for his proposal “Theater and Community: An alternative for grassroots development.” TEL has also received other recognition, including awards and medals of cultural merit from the Ministry of Culture and the Colombian Senate.

Project Description
TEL will carry out peace building activities using a community theater approach with 11 grassroots theater groups in Cali, Valle del Cauca and the north of Cauca. TEL will also launch an online version of its community theater program called radioteatro that uses the internet to disseminate radio dramas more broadly. Participants will build their confidence and gain the skills to become agents of change in their communities. They will forge networks of local, departmental and national organizations to promote a culture of peace. The project will benefit 300 young people and other community members affected by the armed conflict and other forms of violence. It will indirectly reach about 37,600 additional residents, who will gain the opportunity to use theater to critically reflect on the history of the conflict and opportunities for reconciliation.

Rationale for Funding
TEL brings a long history of using theater as a tool for social organizing and peace-building in one of the country’s most conflict-ridden zones. By developing partnerships with local organizations and public institutions it has persisted over the years. A testament to its success is the fact that it doesn’t just execute “projects” but rather supports 11 diverse and autonomous community theater groups in the region. In the current context of Colombia’s ongoing peace negotiations it will be especially important to support organizations that are already building peace and are trusted by local communities.

Learning Opportunity
TEL is proposing to expand its reach and impact by using an online modality called radioteatro. This grant will tell us more about how organizations can adapt methodologies to the virtual realm. It will also yield lessons for the IAF’s own virtual platform.