Nuffic Grant for Klasien Horstman & Marten de Vries

After 50 years of civil war resulting in 6,5 million of internally displaced persons, Colombia is currently on the world stage with its process of peace building and reconciliation.

Over a long period, numerous people were traumatically affected by violence and the destruction of their communities, rendering this is a complex and difficult task. Both, victims and perpetrators today grapple with new identities and possibilities, while old wounds remain unhealed.

Following on the insights of participative research into the use of media for improving public mental health in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Maastricht (financed by ZonMw and the City of Maastricht) and building on the strong history of Columbian community media, Prof. Klasien Horstman and Em. Prof. Marten de Vries together with the MVI and in collaboration with colleagues of Javariana University, Bogota, developed an interactive media and public mental health training programme.

The programme will be attended by a diverse group of participants from government officials and health workers, to university public health staff to community leaders. The first part is conceptual and practical and will be anchored in mutual learning aimed at co-creating the appropriate level of intervention for capacity building and the required local media strategies to promote health, reconciliation and social resilience.

A second part will be a practicum in the field including FARC, urban and semi-literate, rural communities each afflicted by the war in unique ways. Our aim is to collaboratively contribute to Columbia’s journey toward sustainable communication for peace, health and reconciliation.

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