Miguel - Blog

by Kelly Vo
Jul 12

My research project is about how football can be used as a social development tool, peacebuilding, and unifying tool in marginalized communities in Colombia. This means that I am mostly focusing on NGOs that are working with these communities using soccer as a means for their goals of social transformation.

On the 18th I spent the day with William Jiminez and Tiempo de Juego. I started the day off very early as our meeting place was more than an hour away. It became apparent very quickly that there was a great socio-economic disparity between the north of Bogota, where I was staying, and the south, where we were meeting up. He picked me up at the meetup place so that he could drive me into the neighborhood of Cazuca. According to him, Cazuca is probably the second most dangerous neighborhood in the country. He explained that the reason the neighborhood has such troubled history is because far-left guerilla groups would convene there and it led to conflict with them and far-right paramilitary groups.This meant that back then the youth, like himself, in order to protect themselves from being recruited to either groups had to create their own gangs. Once the guerilla and paramilitary groups left the area it left five gangs in the neighborhood.

I interviewed four people from Tiempo de Juego and watched a practice. William took me to the bakery that they partner with to be able to feed their players. I learned a lot about the methodologies of tiempo de juego as well as the life-changing role it can play in the lives of the kids in the neighborhoods. They keep them away from gangs and drugs by keeping them busy with not only soccer, but also art, music, and other extracurriculars. They teach them how to create their own business once they’re older and many are granted the opportunity to study in college and some even play professionally