Vive la Cumbre Foundation

Group 28

Location: Colombia, South America


Partnership: Greening Curriculum


Language: Spanish


Format: Curriculum Development


Audience: Policymakers, School Leaders, Teachers

Meet the teacherLinks

Vanessa Ortiz Rios

Vanessa has worked in education for eight years, three of them as a teacher in the classroom. Throughout her career, she has worked with children and young people between nine and 25 years old. She believes that her greatest achievement in education is Vive la Cumbre, a foundation of which she is a partner and which today is a collective construction space, constantly seeking to respond to the deep calls of the soul of those who are part of it. Vanessa has been inspired by many human and non-human beings in her path and what most ignites her flame, is to evidence the deep processes that we all live through when we share profound experiences of being with nature.

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The foundation has developed a curriculum that involves experiential learning and follow-up, project-based activities. Through experiential and outdoor education, the foundation promotes the strengthening of socio-emotional skills, peacebuilding, environmental awareness and collective leadership of young people from areas affected by the armed conflict in Urabá, Valle del Cauca and Risaralda in Colombia.

Theory of Change

In areas affected by the armed conflict in Colombia, young people grow up with very limited access to quality regular, socio-emotional education. The foundation has found that many of the youth there have poor conflict resolution, self-esteem, leadership and environmental awareness skills; abilities the foundation considers critical to sustain life, social justice and economic development in their communities.

Approach and Actions

The project takes learners out of their comfort zone, giving them exposure to experiences that allow them to develop new skills as well as connecting them to the nature of their territory, thus increasing their environmental consciousness and leadership potential.


The foundation’s approach is the application of a pedagogical annual cycle that includes an adventure experience in a rugged ecosystem. This is a new experience for most of the students. The curriculum is called ‘My Territory to the Summit’, and is focused on providing tools to recognize and empathize with the diversity of the living world, to care for the Earth, to resolve conflicts (by identifying and managing emotions), to identify communal needs and to devise individual and collective actions to solve them. Rugged ecosystems instill vulnerability thus encouraging individual openness to others and the material; the team encourage emotions to surface and be expressed in a positive manner.