Global Newsletter – January 2012 (Costa Rica) – The recent increase in juvenile violence and criminality has contributed to the overall deteriorating security conditions in Costa Rica. These trends have led the RET Costa Rica to develop and implement a programme encompassing recreational activities that promote and contribute to building a culture of peace in the Costa Rican society. The RET programme addresses causes of violence among adolescents and youths, empowering communities and populations at risk to combat violence by offering spaces for dialogue, education, recreation and culture. In both schools and communities where the RET works, the RET encourages the creation of protective environments and seeks spaces for peaceful coexistence tailored to the needs of young people.
Based upon the needs arising from theses trends of violence and criminality, the RET Costa Rica, in the framework of the project “Promoting inclusive education and local integration of young refugees in urban areas through sports, recreational activities and awareness”, has recently organized a Festival of Culture, Sports and Arts called “Citizens of the World”. This festival was held at Monseñor Rubén Odio School, in Desamparados (Costa Rica). The Festival was organised with support of the “Youth Without Borders” Network, UNESCO and IOM and funding from the International Olympic Committee. The Festival offered a variety of recreational, sports and cultural activities (games, theatre, graphic expression) and included an awareness raising workshop around the theme of refugees and migration. All activities focused on the respect of diversity and the promotion of peaceful coexistence.
In addition, the RET Costa Rica participates in the national Peace Network which is supported by the Ministry of Peace and Justice. This initiative arose from the need to provide a space for dialogue, planning and exchange between civil society entities and to ensure and develop concerted and integrated actions to prevent violence. Furthermore, the RET’s work in Costa Rica aims to complement existing initiatives that advocate for peace, such as the National Programme “Convivir” (Live together) which aims at (peaceful) cohabitation in educational centres, launched by the Ministry of Public Education. Through the participation in these networks, the RET, together with other State and civil society entities, helps to develop strategies and and integral responses to the factors which contribute to the violence of young people.