Youth ACT Chile - Cunco Group


We are a group of young professionals who live in the commune of Cunco, in the Araucanía region, in southern Chile.

They are part of the group: Andrea Sanhueza, Consuelo Martínez, Nicole León, María José Matus, Moisés Ñancucheo, Erik Lombaert, Queti Zúñiga and Rosi Catalán. Our goal is to promote the participation and active construction of young people in the community in Cunco. We support the self-managed organization.

The Youth-ACT Youth for Participation and Action Project called us to participate, then the pandemic came and in this situation of limited mobility and displacement we find ourselves discovering a wide world of people, issues and organizations. The virtual world allowed us to build our group.

During these three semesters we have organized different conversations with organizations and people who work in Cunco in relation to the topics of:

  • Citizen Participation: Plebiscite, a new constitution for Chile.
  • Mapuche worldview
  • Gender Parity
  • Childhood and Adolescence
  • Ecology and Environment

In each of these conversations transmitted online, we have shared with people who are working on the issues, inside and outside Cunco. Our goal is to address the issues from the local actors who are working, reflecting on those realities.

We wanted to open up to know the different organizations that work in our commune, their impact and scope of their action.


Social Media

Group participation in the process of the New Constitution Project - Chile

Andrea Sinhueza

Who finished the project: María José, Nicole, Karin and Andrea and who were in different stages with us in this project: Consuelo, Ignacio, Yohana, Erick, Daladier and Moisés.
Where we are located: We are a group of young professionals from the commune of Cunco, located in the Araucanía Region, Chile.
Context: We were invited in November 2019 to participate in a project: “Youth for participation and democratic values”.
At that time in Chile there was a social outburst after 19 October. A series of demonstrations were generated that showed a nationwide social discontent that strongly questioned the democratic system.
Several very massive demonstrations took place in different regions of the country, which ended with a peace agreement, giving rise to a constituent process. Due to the great social unrest, there was an early closure of the school and academic year for students, so we returned from holidays and resumed our normal work in March 2020.
We officially started the project on 2 December 2019, at the headquarters of the Corporación RUF Cunco, where a presentation of the project was made to six young people who had been invited.
In the first semester we worked on key concepts such as: participation, citizenship and public policies. The participation was prepared for the meeting in Madrid-Spain, where the different groups were presented and the lessons learned up to that moment were presented. The project team presented the work of the second semester.
In January 2020, the first news from Covid-19 began to arrive. The first infections in Chile were detected in February, and in mid-March confinement began and with it the face-to-face meetings ceased; at the end of March the first virtual meeting of the group was held.

At the end of March, the first virtual meeting of the group was held. In this semester, the idea of holding online “conversations” arose, for which there was a period of failed planning, of ideas that could not be carried out due to difficulties in the internal organisation of the group. All this caused a break in the group and a rethinking of the internal objective. At this point we focused on finding out how the young people in Cunco were participating.
This was our first conversation, with people from outside the group: seven young people between 16 and 22 years old, residents of the commune, who shared with us their experience of being young people in Cunco and what their needs would be to live better as young people; this opened up a panorama of different groups that exist in the city and that were working on their objectives and actions. Many of these organizations were unknown to us and their efforts helped to make their work and contribution to local development more visible.
Another stage was the beginning of a process of dissemination of the group through social networks, the creation of Instagram and Facebook page, the group’s logo, etc., with the aim of disseminating the activities that we want to carry out and to publicize important information about activities in the commune that are little or not publicized. After a period of reflection on our way of making decisions, we started a stage of information and dissemination about the plebiscite for the drafting of a new Constitution in Chile, which will take place on 19 October 2020. To this end, we organized ourselves into various tasks to produce informative videos about the process and leaflets to inform the community in Cunco.
This experience allowed us to realize how little information citizens had about the constituent process that the country was starting. Our work was well accepted by the people. In addition, we held talks with a lawyer who is an expert in constitutional law, together with other groups in the region, thus extending the coverage and reaching more people.
We are planning the first cycle of talks: Next, we analyze the experience and lessons learned from these activities: A risk was taken in the communal context of taking a stand. After a period in which it was difficult for us to organize ourselves, we gained momentum and were able to improve in our tasks and responsibilities. They became aware of the lack of training and civic education of the people of the commune and it was
assumed as a challenge to contribute to this training.
With these learnings we begin a new stage of the project and of our group. Before the talks, the group began training cycles with different members who contributed their knowledge and specialties. This training allowed us to take charge of the conversations, leaving our limits and insecurities, in this way, we
better assume the tasks to advance at work.

We incorporate into our practice the evaluation that has allowed us to grow as a group and as individuals by reviewing our tasks and responsibilities after each activity Issues for the new Constitution from a local perspective.

– Indigenous Peoples 

– Let’s talk about Ecology

– Gender Parity

– Let’s talk about childhood and adolescence

The cycle of talks is evaluated and the group is given feedback. It should be noted that the participants in these meetings were people from the community, giving priority to local actors, both from the community and the region.

Lessons learned from these discussions:
– To recognise the historical connotation of the process that was pushed by an empowered citizenry after a
series of declarations of how good Chile is.
– We want something new, that emerges from our new outlooks….
– The energies present in society invite us to dialogue about our role as citizens.
– Dialogue helped us to move from the personal to the collective. We decided to invite others.
– To involve ourselves in the process that Chilean society is going through.
– Dialogue, listening to the other to the end, understanding cultural nuances and cultivating an attitude of dialogue. Openness to recognise the value of the other in order to open horizons. Respect for agreements and opinions. Personal experience that enriches the collective.
– Sharing information and feeling responsible for what happens.

Preparation for the Webinar: Third semester closing milestone
– Decision-making attitudes.
– Examples of decision-making.
– Lessons learned.

We were left with the issues of gender parity and children.
At the end of the discussions, we came to the conclusion that:
– There are more young people doing things than we know and know about.
– There is a dimension of service and a generous and non-exclusive "we".
– There is a growing sense of belonging to the group. That we can do something, there is a stance and commitment that differs from the prevailing, dominant model.
– It was positive to meet people from Cunco who have this richness.
– The cohesion of the group grows.
At the end of the period we had to choose a minority group to work with.
The group participated in the training they received from the central team with the Enneagram.
We reflected on the results of the Convention elections: how did people vote in the Araucanía region, we analyzed the data from the Electoral Service and saw the importance of collating all the available information.
We initiated contacts with some groups and considered the possibility of working with them, especially with the group of feminists from the commune of Cunco, with whom we had several meetings to analyse possible interactions. In the end, it was not possible because the group was focused on accompanying victims of harassment at work.
During the month of May 2022 we resumed our activities to focus on disseminating the work carried out by the Constitutional Convention. We also made a summary and synthesis of the work carried out in order to know at what stage we are and how we should continue.
We chose to move forward as a group and work with the contingency that the country was experiencing.
We will not focus on the subject but on the theme. The reflection led us to work on the dissemination of this process and thus close the project.
We met on several occasions to organize the work and reflect on how to do it. We decided to work on the dissemination of the New Constitution Project by organizing a series of virtual meetings with lawyers and convention members in the region for this purpose.
The work was set up as follows:
– 25 July Grace Smith with the constitutional lawyer.
– 2 August Manuela Royo, feminist lawyer and spokesperson for Modatima, an environmental and mainstreaming organization.
– 25 August Lorena Céspedes, teacher and member of the convention.

Various virtual meetings were held in preparation for the seminar in New York, which took place in June 2022. Subsequently, we worked on the preparation of the seminar and immersion in Lima, Peru, during the month of August.
We have met to evaluate the results of the exit plebiscite and to organize the material for the preparation of the project’s closing reports.
Impact on the local group
Different participants and members of the group have shared their impressions, experiences and conclusions regarding the teamwork carried out:
Own learning: Belonging to this project allowed me to reflect and learn about the importance of citizen participation and how young people have a fundamental role in these democratic processes, where, in addition to having that role, they want and need to be active members of these.
When I started the project I was looking to be part of something, to help in the social processes that were taking place, but without having clarity about how and where. When I got to know EDIW I had not internalised how important it is to make room for processes, to be methodical so that all action is carried out on the basis of the theoretical foundation that supports it.
At the end of the project, concepts such as decision-making, communication, empowerment, theoretical foundations, empathy and solidarity have taken on a special meaning. Today I can say that I have learned to consider all sides before generating a project or an action. Moreover, I managed to be part of a group that, despite going through several complex internal processes, has been able to work as a team, dialogue and
above all be friends”. Nicolete
When everything was unknown, I was only talking to a friend and it was not possible to share it in another space. At the beginning, there were difficulties in getting involved and finding the group’s direction. Little by little, trust began to grow, we began to listen to each other and discover common ground. It was a very enriching opportunity to share experiences, to connect in everything. María José
“I started with the concern to find out about the exit plebiscite. Grateful to learn about the process, possibility to share what I learned with the family circle”. Karin
“Thinking about why I’m doing it… the significance of the trip, and the possibility of meeting people and forming a group”. Nico
“I started without much desire, making an effort to listen to the other… exercise of communicating and listening. Active listening. The year 2020 was accompanied by tensions due to the beginning of the pandemic. At the end it was nice to share with Nico, Moisés and María José who were traveling to Lima. We were able to bond more”. Rosi

“I wanted to join the group. I didn’t know why, it was a motivation for me to be able to show that in every part of the world there are valuable people, whether in Cunco or elsewhere. When you get together with others, you learn. Concern: when there were situations that affected the group negatively. We experienced the value of apologising, it is important to raise things. Learning to talk to many people. Queti
How did I start? With uncertainty, despite having participated in other groups, I hadn’t had the opportunity to do it with these characteristics, almost all of them had been in the pastoral field. At the beginning I found it difficult to convey the objective, where to go and what we should be responding to. A great challenge has been to accompany, mainly because in the context of the pandemic this has perhaps been the greatest need.
How do I finish? To have remained has meant constancy and a challenge from the point of view of openness and to follow processes of knowledge and deepening around a theme, seeking to base, inform, respect and share. Meeting a group of friends who are also seeking to contribute to a fairer and more informed society.
The times were the necessary and precise ones, both our approach, object of study and deepening as well as what each one of us experienced have allowed us to grow and move forward”. Andrea