United Nations implement Bossaball as a tool for peace

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Colombia (UNODC) implements Bossaball in a youth detention center in Manizales and in two socially troubled neighborhoods in Bogota as an initiative to prevent crime in young people through the “Line Up, Live Up” project that promotes sport as a tool for peace.

Bossaball Colombia, in collaboration with UNODC, the District Secretary for Social Integration in Bogota (SDIS), the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF), the United States Embassy in Colombia and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), implemented two different Bossaball initiatives under the “Line Up, Live Up” project in order to prevent crime and promote resilience in at-risk youth effectively through sport.

In below documentary, the adolescents that participated in the “Line Up, Live Up” project in Suba and Usaquén, Bogotá, sum up how the Bossaball course has impacted their lives in these socially troubled neighborhoods and share details about how sports can work as a tool for peace.

Bossaball is something that helps a society progress, instead of being involved in crime, in gangs, with drugs. So the most important thing is to use sport as a lifestyle which gets you away from bad habits. With more sport and less drugs, you can beat anything… Society would be good.

The Bossaball program I’m in isn’t trying to train athletes, but to educate people with integrity. Skills like self-knowledge and empathy are being taught.

Bossaball has taught me most about humility.


Line Up, Live Up

Line Up, Live Up – UNODC’s evidence-informed and sports-based life skills training curriculum – has been designed as a unique tool that transfers the accumulated expertise of the United Nations and other partners in implementing life skills training for crime and drug use prevention to sport settings.

Through agreements with national government departments, in this case with SDIS and ICBF, UNODC and Bossaball Colombia have carried out these sports awareness initiatives for young people: “Bossaball as a tool for training and strengthening life skills and educational and social abilities.”

The project promotes civil values ​​and disseminates the benefits of sport to prevent youth from engaging in criminal or violent acts.

Bossaball as an educational tool

In 2015, Bossaball Colombia introduced an innovative educational concept, liaising music and sports. In a world premiere, the practical exercise of volleyball, football and gymnastics was combined with artistic rhythm workshops through a 4-station circuit around the Bossaball court.

For the “Line Up, Live Up” project with UNODC, the education of life skills is added to this methodology. Consequently, through Bossaball and the stations around the court, the participants receive sports training, musical formation and psycho-social education which results in the generation of life skills such as self-knowledge, management of emotions and feelings, empathy, stress and conflict management, interpersonal relationships, creative and critical thinking and assertive communication.

Two parallel projects were carried out to implement the methodology of Bossaball Colombia and the United Nations.

Bogotá – Suba and Usaquén

Through the first cooperation, from December 4, 2018 to March 4, 2019, the project “Bossaball as a tool for training and strengthening life skills and educational and social abilities” was carried out by Bossaball Colombia, UNODC and SDIS. In the districts of Suba and Usaquén, Bogotá, 490 young people were part of the pedagogical process, giving them life skills in these socially troubled neighborhoods.

The secretary of Social Integration, Gladys Sanmiguel, affirms in an interview with El Nuevo Siglo that

Between 2015 and 2018, juvenile delinquency decreased by 32% and 998 young people participated and benefited from the ‘Bossaball’ sports project and the psychosocial project, ‘Go Playing’, in the districts of Usaquén, Suba and Ciudad Bolívar.

Youth detention center – “Los Zagales” in Manizales

In a parallel project, UNODC, ICBF and the United States Embassy in Colombia strengthened the pedagogical model of “Line Up, Live Up” by implementing Bossaball in a youth detention center in Manizales.

60 adolescents, who are in custody at the “Los Zagales Specialized Care Center” in Manizales, took part in the Bossaball course. At the closing ceremony of the “Line Up, Live Up” project in the youth detention center, the participants demonstrated their skills in sports, playing Bossaball, and in expressing their feelings and emotions, together with their families. In that same event, certificates and honorable mentions were given to the outstanding participants of the Bossaball course.

Youth as agents of change

UNODC and ICBF lead the promotion of restorative practices which is defined as “a methodology that motivates the offender to understand the causes and effects of their behavior and to assume their responsibility in a meaningful way.”

The essential objective of the implementation of Bossaball at the youth detention center in Manizales is the successful reintegration of the adolescents to society after their time spent in custody, where they shall share their experiences on how sport and the acquisition of life skills now helps them stay out of crime.

United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

For UNODC, the development and participation of young people are transversal pillars of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Bossaball led a first collaboration in December 2018, when 200 young people from the 20 localities of Bogotá built public policy in the youth camp “Participate, spread the word, decide and transform the territory“, set up by the SDIS in partnership with UNODC in Colombia.

Crime prevention through sport

As part of its efforts to implement the Doha Declaration, UNODC has launched the “Line Up, Live Up” initiative globally to minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors in everything related to crime, violence and the use of drugs. The fundamental objective is to strengthen the life skills of youth.

Enriching knowledge about the consequences of crime and drug abuse and developing life skills, this initiative aims to positively influence the behaviors and attitudes of youth groups at risk and thus prevent anti-social and risk behavior.

The ‘Line Up, Live Up’ curriculum is currently piloted in 11 countries around the globe, including in Brazil, Palestine, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, building the capacity of sports coaches, teachers and community workers by enabling them to use sport as a tool for prevention of violence and crime among youth.

One of the important elements of the initiative is to facilitate access to sports for youth, especially those from marginalised communities, as well as through the refurbishment of sports centres and schools. Have a look at the “UNODC – Line Up, Live Up” YouTube playlist below and find out more details about the different initiatives.