Research Portal

March 21, 2024

Day one of Change Stories residential knowledge exchange event

Monday, March 18th at 8am, individuals gathered in the hotel lobby; many people were meeting for the first time, some were long-term colleagues or past co-workers. Some participates were able to explore the city for a day or two before official activities began. Travel experiences were shared, first experiences in Bogotá were highlighted; on Sunday, a group participated in the Bogotá weekly Ciclovía, and experienced a free public Zumba exercise class in a local park.


Boarding the bus, many sitting next to a new project colleague, the group arrived at the Universidad de los Andes. Scenery was full of large, lush green trees and plants along the roads and surrounding buildings. The view from the meeting space showed the contrast between different built environment conditions set alongside nature.

Sessions in the morning included a project overview and context session, along with introductions from project teams in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Ice breaker sessions were sprinkled in between, having people meet new colleagues and share their favorite story. Participants at the residential event speak a variety of languages, and sessions were hosted in Spanish, Portuguese, and English with live translation to facilitate full participation of all attendees.

After morning sessions and a quick lunch, the group boarded the bus and headed to El Castillo, a community Block of Care in Bogotá. Touring the Block of Care, their “time bank” approach to support services was evident. This approach allows individuals to utilize services will accomplishing other necessary tasks; for example, a mother can take class to pursue her education while having her laundry washed in a washing machine, while her child is being taken care of in the childcare facility. El Castillo provides these resources, facilitated and delivered by many volunteers in the facility.

After the site visit, final sessions of the day included presentations from the local Bogotá host team, and an introduction to story telling and sharing experiences.

To wrap up the first day, a delicious dinner at a local popular restaurant allowed for more time to connect with colleagues and learn about one another. The long but fruitful day was full of shared learnings, and set a strong tone for the rest of the group’s time together.

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