A summer camp created by Millennials to foster peace and reconciliation in conflict-torn areas of Colombia was awarded the grand prize of the 2016 “Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge” this week at the World Economic Forum 2017 annual meeting. 

The “Bakongo Paz” project was developed by the Bogotá Hub of the Global Shapers Community, an international network of young social entrepreneurs organized by the World Economic Forum. It’s one of five social programs to receive $10,000 each in acceleration funding from The Coca‑Cola Company through the Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge.

Camp Bakongo serves at-risk and underprivileged children who have been impacted by conflict in Colombia. Young Colombians and demobilized people cooperatively staff and manage the camp. Camp Bakongo creates an environment of peacebuilding, sharing and teamwork that gives the next generation of Colombians a foundation for continued cooperation. 

“One of the main challenges for our country is to restore the social fabric that has been broken after more than five decades of conflict,” said Bakongo Paz Project Lead Daniel Buriticá Córdoba, who represented the Bogotá Hub in Davos. “We are aware that we, the youth, have to take a step forward and send a clear message to our society that, despite all the wounds and pain, it is possible to reconcile and peacefully coexist. Being selected as a Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge Grand Prize Winner is deeply inspiring for the Bogotá Hub. This recognition opens the door to fulfilling our short-term dream: offering an improved and strengthened version of Bakongo Paz in 2017.”

The Bakongo Paz project won the popular vote of members of the Global Shapers Community as a Shaping a Better Future finalist, and as grand prize winner by a high-level panel of judges comprised of leaders from the public and private sector.

The Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge received over 100 project submissions this year from Global Shapers Hubs around the world. Four additional Hubs were selected as 2016 winners: Ahmedabad, India’s “Shaping Education”, which is providing alternative education options for marginalized youth in India; Ho, Ghana’s “The Water Purification Project (WPP)”, which is improving access to sustainable, clear drinking water in Ghana; Joinville, Brazil’s “Politize!”, focused on improving political and civic education through fun, interactive online games for schoolchildren in Brazil; and Uyo, Nigeria’s “Education for Sustainable Development”, which is building libraries and increasing access to reading materials and education for youth in Nigeria.

“The Coca-Cola system is committed to being a strong supporter of Colombian communities,” said Alfredo Rivera, president of Coca-Cola Latin America. “The Global Shapers of Bogotá, Colombia remind us all of the importance of engaging young generations when seeking to create sustainable solutions to the world’s most challenging issues.”