Giles Duley Columbia Spirit of Soccer visit

Giles Duley visits Find A Better Way project in Columbia

Find A Better Way Ambassador and photojournalist Giles Duley is in Columbia this week visiting a Find A Better Way-funded mine-risk education project in the country, administered by our partners Spirit of Soccer. The project teaches local children how to identify and avoid explosive remnants of war (ERW) mixed in with football skills training.

Giles’ photography of humanitarian issues and the consequences of conflict has appeared in countless publications and exhibitions. Regular readers of the Find A Better Way blog will remember that his exhibition, Remnants of War, was on display at the House of Commons last summer. By visiting the Spirit of Soccer project in Columbia, Giles will help illustrate the important work Find A Better Way is funding in the country.

Columbia’s emergence from decades of civil war is at a critical stage Although a fragile peace between the government and the FARC is taking hold, much of the country remains polluted by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Demining will be a long process, complicated by the fact that IEDs tend not to be recorded on maps when deployed.

The risk posed by IEDs and other explosives to civilians, especially children, will therefore continue for many years. Spirit of Soccer, an agency with a long history of cooperation with Find A Better Way, is providing a much needed role in reducing the number of future civilian casualties. Besides the thousands of children they will reach directly, Spirit of Soccer will also be training specialist coaches who can continue teaching the children football skills as they soak up invaluable mine risk education.

Speaking of his trip, Giles said, ‘I’ve been wanting to visit Colombia for a long time. Despite having one of the highest rates of civilians injured yearly by landmines, it is a rarely reported story. I am honoured to finally be in the country and meeting other survivors in the hope that documenting their stories will bring more attention to the deadly legacy of war here in Colombia.

‘The Spirit of Soccer programme that FABW supports is a brilliant and innovative programme that combines children’s love of football with landmine awareness.

‘I’ve been to watch a couple of training sessions and was really impressed by the Colombian coaches and their passion for educating. Its vital that children in the areas most contaminated are educated on the dangers of landmines. This project is already demonstrating great success.’

More images from Giles’ visit to Columbia are available to view at the Find A Better Way Facebook page.