My Story - News for and by teenagers. Preventing the recruitment of teenagers by illegal armed groups through participatory journalism in Colombia

  • Charles, Mathew Hinson (PI)
  • Cooke, Paul (PI)

Project: Research Project

Project Details


My Story: News For and By Teenagers is an online news service promoting a youth-based agenda in one of Colombia's most violent regions, where many under 18s have been forced or enticed into joining illegal armed groups. It builds upon a previous AHRC project which produced animated testimony and recommendations for the non-repetition of conflict in Colombia by former child soldiers in partnership with young people who have grown up since the ceasefire with the FARC in 2016. This new project applies these testimonies and recommendations in a creative and active way to cultivate deep engagement with our research among vulnerable communities, as well as among local authorities and campaigners. By engaging teenagers at-risk of illicit recruitment in this reporting project, we identify how they see their lives, their communities and their futures, and we are able to build interventions and advocacy to prevent them from joining armed groups.
As our previous research has shown, youngsters who grow up in war zones typically feel powerless, disaffected and unable to obtain basic necessities and improve their life circumstances. They can feel trapped and abused, and often experience a deep sense of humiliation. This can create a strong desire to achieve power so they can restore their lost dignity and regain a sense of personal efficacy. Joining an armed group can also offer protection in a context of physical, emotional or economic insecurity. Faced with contexts of protracted violence, many teenagers on the margins of Colombia can therefore experience negative identities, which destroy motivation and confidence, and also breed depression. This
can instigate a desire and necessity for escape, and often joining an armed group can appear as the only solution to many young people.
Effective start/end date11/1/212/28/23

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Main Funding Source

  • International


  • Córdoba
  • Cauca
  • Bogotá D.C.


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