One Story, our History!
The Vive con Esperanza Foundation was established in October 2008 in Bogotá, Colombia, with the aim of supporting the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, Chapter 25th of AGENDA 21, the Declaration of Santo Domingo for the Sustainable Development of the Americas then all the global Frameworks for Disaster Risk Reduction. The founders Mrs Rocio Galvis Guerrero and Mr. Fernando Garcia started to shape our mission, as well as writing a children story to their own kids, named the “Booklets of Hope”, that included songs and some bird characters extracted from the story …
A significant milestone for the foundation occurred on April 18, 2012, during the XXV International Book Fair in Bogotá, when the Booklets of Hope were launched. This initiative marked the continent’s sole children’s literature participation addressing climate change. Inspired by Chapter 25 of Agenda 21, the foundation designed and tested a continental action plan in numerous schools throughout rural and urban areas of Colombia as distinct environmental projects.
On March 15, 2013, Mrs. Liz Thompson, a prominent leader from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 and former Minister of the Government of Barbados, praised the Rally Schools with a Sustainable Future project as “an interesting and worthy initiative.” Following this, Mr. Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of UNEP, delegated Ms. Margarita Astrálaga, Regional Director for Latin America, to contact Vive con Esperanza in Panama. This led to a detailed discussion of the international project and exploration of collaboration alternatives. Consequently, UNEP agreed to participate as the first jury and support the Rally’s dissemination from the following year.
Further recognition and collaboration came from Ms. Irina Bokova, the General Secretary of UNESCO in Paris, who identified the project’s alignment with the objectives of the UNESCO Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Mr. Jorge Sequeira, the Director of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, evaluated the possibilities of collaboration between UNESCO and the Vive con Esperanza Foundation, resulting in significant support and their participation as the second jury.
On December 3, 2013, Mr. Cletus Springer, the Director of the Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States, expressed his interest in collaborating with the initiative, solidifying his support on March 6, 2014, and joining as the third jury. Subsequently, on September 1, 2014, Mr. Ricardo Mena, the Regional Director for the Americas of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), became the fourth and final jury member, further strengthening the initiative.
The first Continental Rally took place in 2014 with the participation of 439 schools from countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. These schools engaged in five challenges, and notable contributions were made by schools such as EST 67 in Mexico City, Mexico; INETEB La Boquilla in Colombia; IE Antonia Moreno de Cáceres in Lima, Peru; and Escuela Puente Pampa in Cochabamba, Bolivia, recognized for their committed participation of students and school communities.
The second Rally, held in 2016, witnessed a strategic shift that involved government authorities in education and environment from countries across the continent. This resulted in the active participation of 5,239 schools. Key officials who officially joined the initiative included Mrs. Sonia Mora Escalante, the Minister of Public Education of Costa Rica; Mr. Carlos Canjura Linares, the Minister of Education of El Salvador; Mrs. María Mercedes Brito-Féliz, the Secretary-General of the Dominican National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO; Mrs. Carmen Magaly Beltrán Vargas, the General Secretary of the Peruvian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO; Mrs. Aurora Zegarra Huapaya, the Director of the Office of National Defense and Disaster Risk Management ODENAGED; and Mr. Marcelo Mena Carrasco, the Minister of the Environment of Chile.
The second National Meeting of the Network of Schools Associated with UNESCO, held on November 4, 2016, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, featured a conference titled “Innovative Educational Projects of the Continental Rally Schools with a Sustainable Future.” During this event, special recognition was given to the 15 most outstanding schools from Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Chile. These schools were officially invited to the award ceremony that took place in Lima, Peru, the following year.
The award ceremony for the 2016 Continental Rally and the Vive con Esperanza Award 2017-2018 was held on August 28, 2017, at the Kingdom Hotel in Lima, Peru. The event highlighted the achievements of Peruvian schools, particularly in the “Country Challenge: Peru” category, which focused on Disaster Risk Reduction. Distinguished representatives from UNISDR, UNESCO Peru, OAS Peru, and the embassies of the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and France, along with virtual participation from the Ministry of the Environment of Chile and the Ministry of Public Education of Costa Rica, contributed to the Continental Workshops with Peruvian and International Schools and the Awards Ceremony.
In the 2022-2030 Vive con Esperanza strategy, we decided to include nutrition, health, reproductive responsibility, digital entrepreneurship and AI in our transversal lines, to prepare children, adolescents and families for the challenges of this decade. And the story continues to be written, with hope in our hearts!