The Instituto Distrital para la Protección de la Niñez y la Juventud (District Institute for the Protection of Children and Youth, IDIPRON), founded in 1967, works to ensure young people enjoy their rights in Bogota. It works with young people with high social vulnerability: those who work in the street, gang members, victims of the armed conflict, displaced people, those in prostitution, and residents in socially segregated neighborhoods.
Established in 2013, the Semilleros de Investigación (Seeds of Research) project research team is composed of young people at risk, working with artists, audiovisual experts and social scientists. Together, they develop research projects, in the visual, audiovisual, written and sound-based languages of young people, on issues affecting them in Colombia. The goal is to generate knowledge in a horizontal manner, involving the lives and experiences of all and developing spaces for peace, personal and community development.
The research takes place through four key steps:
- Parchar: In Colombia, 'parchar' means to spend quality time with close friends. In terms of the project, this means young people getting to know communities to understand their issues and problem. This helps build confidence and trust to motivate members of the community to take part in the work.
- Motivar y seducir: motivate and involve. In this phase, the project establishes dialogue spaces for young people to detail their concerns, and to help motivate them to convert these concerns into research questions that they wish to answer.
- Investigar: investigate. This is the research phase, applying the chosen research methods.
- Publicar y Circular: publish and circulate. This phase supports the distribution and dissemination of the young people's research with their communities, using different formats including dance, theatre, audiovisual and publications work.
The Semilleros project currently works with 200 people living in areas of the city where violence and conflict have had a big impact. These include Ciudad Bolívar, Usme, Kennedy, San Cristóbal, Santafé, La Candelaria, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Usaquén and Bosa.
Major achievements include:
- Working in areas that no other organisation has been able to;
- Establishing conflict transformation mechanisms for young people through the participation of vulnerable young people in investigation and action processes.
- Reestablishing relationships of trust between the institutions of the state and marginalised, segregrated and excluded sections of the population.
- Working from the ground up with methodologies and languages close to young people, able to transform their views on delinquency, violence and risk which constitutes the experience of being a young people in many peripheral neighbourhoods.
- Transforming the environment, lives and behaviour of young people.
The project works in various other social organisations, including Parces ONG and Techotiba Comunicaciones, and had developed research partnerships with the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, Universidad de los Andes and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, promoting awareness of its methodologies and guaranteeing the participation of young people in academic work.
Internationally, the project has coordinated with working groups from CLACSO.