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Clave de Sur

Their Pluses

Located in the heart of a working-class town in the south of Guayaquil – the  Guasmo Sur – the Clave del Sur runs a music school, with the objective of teaching one or more musical instruments to their clients – children at risk of being exposed to difficult situations at a young age (being taken out of school, informal labor, urban violence…).

Founded by the community movement Mi Cometa and the German Association Musicians without Borders, the Clave del Sur's music school wants to take concrete action to improve the living standards of the local population. Working in a working-class neighborhood, where the residents have been negatively impacted by the difficult economic situation, Clave del Sur's professionals provide an education which is tailored to each child, offering them the chance to be supported and listened to.

The methodology is based on a fun approach, but maintains clearly defined objectives. The association emphasizes shared values and the sense of belonging to a community, by reinforcing the spirit of collaboration.

The school's objectives go beyond a simple attitude to music. Learning to play a musical instrument in an alternative space, which is open to everyone, creates the feeling of security and also the necessary confidence to develop knowledge, aptitude, and competence for those who attend. This all contributes to reinforcing social cohesion at the heart of both the organisation and the neighborhood.

The organisation does not ask for any financial contributions from people wishing to learn  an instrument, and the music teachers are all volunteers.

Clave del Sur's philosophy is that anyone with musical competence can pass it on to others. People who have received training and can play an instrument subsequently take charge of teaching that skill to others, creating a virtuous circle of sharing and diffusing knowledge.

Clave de Sur

Music activities in the working-class neighbourhood of Guasmo Sur, south of Guayaquil.

Coast / Guayas
Kids Adolescents Young adults Adults


January, Saturday 31 2015

January, Friday 16 2015

Clave de Sur’s Year End

December, Friday 19 2014

On Wednesday 17 December, Clave de Sur received a visit from members of the “Musica Semillas Musicales” (Musical Seeds Music) Conservatoire, a Paraguayan music school, who proposed a joint project to be undertaken in Southern Ecuador in 2015.

The following day, Thursday 18 December, the Paraguayan visitors came together for the concert given by Clave de Sur in a park in Guasmo Sur, to celebrate Christmas together with the local hosts. 

On Friday 19th December, the young people of Clave de Sur played in the Ecuadorian-German Cultural Centre.  The concert opened with three German volunteers who currently support the school: Albán, Naomi and Samuel, before handing the stage to the rap group for a Christmas song and to the jazz and salsa groups for more songs.  A moment of conviviality was then enjoyed as the organisers and audience shared some delicious food, followed by salsa dancing.

As a final activity, before the Christmas celebrations, a social event was organised on the terrace of the school on Saturday 20 December.  Food dishes prepared by everybody were shared, along with memories from 2014 and smiles, late into the evening.

Congratulations to the community music school Clave de Sur for all the activities which they carried out in 2014 and our best wishes for the New Year, which we hope will be full of joy and music projects! 

Translated by Amy Porter

New compositions in Clave de Sur !

September, Sunday 28 2014

During the whole month of September, youngsters from Clave de Sur participated in a workshop on how to compose music, lead by the rapper Carlos Utermöhlen. By writing their own rap pieces this workshop allowed them to share their every day life in the Guasmo Sur neighborhood with the support of music.

For Carlos Utermöhlen, rap, as it is related to language, can have a positive influence on the way we behave and we relate with others, far from the negative stereotypes that are channeled by some rappers. This workshop was capped-off with a performance, during which the youngsters of Clave de Sur performed many songs recently composed.

Translated by Marie-Catherine Arnal

Clave De Sur took part in the Water Festival!

March, Sunday 9 2014

On 9 March, pupils and teachers from Clave De Sur, together with the beneficiaries of other Mouvement Mi Cometa programmes, took part in a day promoting awareness of water protection and conservation. This day was organised by the children taking part in the Guasmo Sur DIGS programme.

Following a session of introductions, the afternoon enabled the children and parents to create instruments, clothes and games, all with recycled material provided with the help of Clave De Sur. The children from the DIGS programme also presented a theatrical performance to the residents of Guasmo Sur who were present.

The participants shared sweets and a cake specially created for the event and decorated with the words of the closing song: "we must live with water and protect it, because water is the source of life".

The grand finale was provided by the children from the DIGS programme, accompanied by John (one of the Clave De Sur coordinators) on the guitar, who performed a song that they had specially written for the event with the help of the children from Clave De Sur.

This community service project was a great success, and both the community and the workers involved returned home satisfied and happy with the day.                                                                                              Translated by Jane Davis

Clave De Sur is visited by the Columbian NGO La Múcura!

November, Sunday 17 2013

La Múcura is a Columbian NGO conducting research in South America, the aim of which is to help create cultural activities which bring about real social change. To do this, the team's five members will travel the sub-continent for two years, going to meet twenty social initiatives active in various art forms. Their first stop on this journey: three weeks in Clave De Sur.

So, from 28 October to 17 November, the pupils and teachers at Clave De Sur contributed to the research, while participating in the musical lessons and workshops offered by La Múcura. These workshops were in classical guitar, bass, percussion and composition, and greatly helped in the preparation of a joint concert, held on 17 November at the MAAC Guayaquil (Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo). In this way, after three weeks spent together, La Múcura presented, at Clave De Sur, the first results of their work.

Enriched by this new experience, the two teams then parted, and La Múcura left Clave De Sur to venture into the Peruvian Amazon and meet with another social initiative there.

Translated by Alison Kapor

Bingo at Guasmo, a tropical Saturday

July, Saturday 6 2013

On Saturday 6th July, members of the Clave de Sur Foundation and their parents organised a bingo night in order to raise funds for their project Musicians Without Borders. Obviously, the event was a musical one with a performance from JBands, a small tropical music band made up of musicians from within the Foundation.

Prizes included food such as sacks of rice, bottles of oil and canned tuna and sardines. All the prizes had been gathered in advance by the participants, who had also sold the Bingo cards among the local residents.

Although it might seem simple, organizing an event like this requires a lot of time ! All the Clave de Sur team started working weeks in advance to make the event a success. They had to raise the necessary funds and to do that, they had to involve the entire Guasmo community.

This event was also a chance for the guests to find out more about the activities on offer at Clave de Sur, above all the opportunity, for those who are interested, of taking music lessons, just a few steps away from their homes.

Although the event was short, it was very well received within the neighborhood. Everything was possible thanks to the hard work of the young people and their parents.

Congratulations everyone ! 

A weekend at the beach to strengthen relations, between beneficiaries and teachers of Clave de Sur

April, Saturday 6 2013

Twice a year, the Clave de Sur association organizes integration weekends that bring together all the beneficiaries of the project for three days. In April 2013, the whole group headed to Ayampe, a small village off the Ecuadorian coast. Music professors, volunteers, students... In total, about thirty people responded 'yes' to the invitation.

On the weekend's program: games on the beach and in the village, evenings around the fire, swimming... Friday and Saturday, the games were one after the other: assault course, beach soccer, relay races... Sunday, a little calmer, was devoted to relaxation and a meal that everyone shared.

Everything had been well organized beforehand so that each person could participate. Good spirits were at the meeting as well. 

These "integration weekends" aim to create synergies between all the members of the team, sharing informal moments away from the classrooms and music classes. And it's always a success! In waiting for the next one (which should take place in August), the small group from Guasmo Sur began again the management of the music school, re-energized and more motivated.

End of year dinner 2012, Clave de Sur

December, Sunday 30 2012

As usual, Clave de Sur invited all its members to join together to celebrate the end of the year. Guests included friends of the organisation and previous beneficiaries, who have moved on due to either personal or professional commitments.  

The evening provided a chance to remember the work carried out in 2012 and toast to 2013 being yet more successful.

Before sitting down to eat, the current and previous program coordinators gave speeches and raised a glass to toast the year’s achievements. After the meal, the guests were shown a video made up of clips from the last year. There were smiles, some nostalgic, shared amongst members of the audience.

The organisation of course did not forget to thank the team for the delicious meal, without which this event could not have been such an enjoyable and emotional evening.

Feeling energised by this year, which has been filled with numerous projects, the organisation Clave de Sur is ready to face the challenges that lie ahead in 2013.

Clave de Sur’s partnership with Cristo del Consuelo school culminates in music

December, Wenesday 19 2012

It was with Christmas carols that the first partnership between Clave de Sur and Cristo del Consuelo school of Guayaquil came to an end. Six musicians from Clave de Sur participated in the project, and they taught violin, drum, guitar and piano classes in this educational establishment. At the same time, a choir was also established.

To conclude these weeks of intensive work, on December 19, 2012, 30 young students shared their new passion with their classmates and families.

Gathered for the holidays, the 200 people present could enjoy the different classes’ performances, grouped by instrument. “Silent Night,” “Las campanas de Belén (The Bells of Bethlehem),” and other Christmas carols were played and sung in unison for the audience.

Given the enthusiasm of the students and school personnel, the project should be renewed for 2013, in order to allow Clave de Sur’s young musicians to continue sharing their skills and passion for music.

Musical Performances: the Grand Finale of Músicos sin Fronteras 2012

October, Wenesday 24 2012

The Músicos sin Fronteras project, which offers music classes in partnership with the German organisation, Musiker ohne Grenzen, came to an end this year. To mark the occasion, two concerts were held in cultural centres in Guayaquil and one in Playas.

After little more than just one month of music classes, the ten young Germans, who had been giving advanced music classes, made sure that everything was prepared so that their students could demonstrate all they had learnt in the short time. Some students were still just beginners, but this didn't hold them back from performing alongside the other young people who demonstrated their talent on Thursday 6th September at the Ecuadorian-German Cultural Centre and on Friday 7th September at the Alliance Française in Guayaquil.

The public was delighted by the concerts. The seats were filled with people of all ages who showed their enjoyment with dancing and applause. During two hours of performances the crowds were moved by solos, duets, instrumental wind ensembles and guitar groups, as well as bands playing tropical music. One of these groups even took the opportunity to perform a song they had written themselves during the classes.

In Las Playas the atmosphere was a little different as this was the project's first year. The concert took place in the same place where the six volunteers in this area had given the classes.

Músicos sin Fronteras 2012

August, Tuesday 28 2012

For the sixth consecutive year, Germans and Ecuadorians are sharing the universal language of music throughout the months of August and September.  This year the German Organisation MOG (Musicians without Borders, by its German initials) brought 12 volunteers to Guasmo Sur, who will be teaching instruments such as clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, etc.

Also notable is that earlier in 2012 this project was brought to the suburbs of Playas, broadening the reach of these organisations; another 5 young Germans will replicate the process with a new public.

In September, as is customary, free concerts will give students and teachers the opportunity to showcase the fruits of this fantastic work.

Clave de Sur and La Batuta links strengthened

April, Friday 20 2012

Una Opción Más is opening doors to future links between the Clave de Sur music school in Guayaquil and the Batuta Cultural Corporation in Quito by organizing a theoretical workshop, taught by Ecuadorian musician Alvaro Obadía, member of La Batuta, and assisted by independent musician Fabian Albornoz.

The meeting took place on Tuesday 27th March at the Clave de Sur school in the Guasmo Sur sector of Guayaquil.  The three organizations collaborated with the aim of achieving the following objectives:

  • For the part of Una Opción Más, to strengthen and raise awareness of the work that is being developed at the Clave de Sur music school, as well as to offer support and establish links with other organizations, in order to enrich the education offered.
  • To expand musical knowledge and to diffuse and support culture was one of the objectives achieved by the Batuta Cultural Corporation through the teaching workshop for students of Clave de Sur.
  • To develop the activities offered in the holiday season ; through this workshop the students of the Clave de Sur school benefitted from new theoretical knowledge, which greatly interested them, and cooperated successfully with each other as planned.

Fifteen people from Clave de Sur benefitted from the workshop, including two volunteer violin teachers, one a member of Una Opción Más and the other a member of Músicos Sin Fronteras (“Musicians without Borders”). 

The coordinator of the meeting for Clave de Sur, Ana Rubi, expressed her satisfaction with the visit of the musicians from La Batuta, as it’s the first time they have undertaken this kind of exchange with another national organization. She also emphasized the fact that they are known by other organizations in the country, since the majority of support was brought by international organizations.

The creation of synergies with other Ecuadorian organizations is important to Clave de Sur, which wants to reproduce the model of music school created and managed by youngsters in other regions of the country. 

As a consequence of this, dialogues have been established over the content of the projects of Una Opción Más, Músicos Sin Fronteras, Clave de Sur y La Batuta, with an expressed interest in future collaborations.

The workshop lasted four hours and was conducted amid a relaxed environment.  The youngsters had the opportunity to share their music knowledge in the Clave de Sur rehearsal room and to showcase their own compositions, playing together with the musicians of La Batuta. This is how the day ended in the Guasmo Sur sector of Guayaquil city. 

How you can help

January, Thursday 1 2015

Music teacher specialized in percussion instruments

Besoins humains

Music teacher specialized in percussion instruments

Besoins humains

The programme operates based on the most advanced students teaching the new arrivals. We rely on the support of “Musicians without Borders” who come to Ecuador for one month per year. However, there is a need for permanent teachers within the organisation, so that the classes are regular and efficient.

-Description of the mission :
The volunteer will be in charge of teaching how playing percussion instruments to the students. The classes may be one-to-one or in groups, depending on requirements, and will take place either within the organisations premises or in other locations (depending on requirements and the location of pupils). The volunteer should also organise regular concerts for the music school, approximately two concerts per month.

-Long-term goals of the foundation with respect to volunteers:
To ensure students are provided with sufficient knowledge to be capable to teach other children.

-Location of the mission:
Guasmo Sur, Cooperativa Mariuxi Febres Cordero Manzana 1674 solares 1 y 2

-Sustainability of the objectives of the NGO in relation to the training:
The most advanced students will go on to teach those with less knowledge. This is why we need highly qualified teachers.

-Duration of the mission:
One month minimum

-Number of hours per day and days per week required:
Classes normally start after lunch at 3pm. Depending on student numbers, classes usually end at 9:30pm

-Former experiences :
Experience working with children or young people, in order to provide an effective teaching method which facilitates learning.

-Diplomas :
Music, knowledge of playing at least one percussion instrument (drums, bongo, cuban kettledrums...).

-Level of Spanish:

-Required competences and qualities:
Able to work with groups, young people and children. A sociable and committed individual.

-Costs covered by the NGO:

-Costs covered by the volunteer and possibilities of accommodation (lodging, food, etc...):
The volunteer must pay the host family 5$ per day as financial assistance for lodging and food.

The timetable is designed on the basis of student numbers and/or needs. There may be free time in the afternoon. Each student attends classes twice per week: Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. The timetable of the volunteer will depend on how the students’ schedules are organised.

Curriculum Vitae + Covering letter

January, Thursday 1 2015
January, Thursday 1 2015

Young people's facilitator

Besoins humains

Young people's facilitator

Besoins humains

- Assignment location:
Guasmo Sur, Cooperativa Mariuxi Febres Cordero Manzana 1674 solares 1 y 2

•  Context in which the request has been made:
The Clave de Sur music school offers free music teaching to the young people of Guasmo Sur, an underprivileged quarter in the south of Guayaquil. The most advanced pupils train the new arrivals, and volunteer teachers also give courses in order to provide a wider range of activities. The music school also wishes to develop other types of activities with young people, to be provided less regularly.

•  Description of the assignment:
The volunteer will be responsible for developing other activities with young people from the music school depending on the skills of the volunteer: cultural, artistic, sporting and manual activities etc.
The volunteer will also periodically be involved in the organisation of events outside the music school.

•  Objectives of the volunteer opportunity:
Develop other activities enabling the school to provide young people with additional opportunities to share in activities; activities that they may ultimately be able to continue following the departure of the volunteer.

•  Conditions of the foundation regarding the volunteer:
The volunteer must be proactive and independent in developing these activities

•  Nature of the assignment?
00Permanent need
 Date of start of the assignment: from March 2014

•  Duration of the assignment:
Minimum two months.

•  Number of hours per day and number of days worked per week:
The volunteer will work 6 hours a day, Monday to Friday. The day will generally start from 15:00, but activities may also be carried out in the morning depending on the availability of pupils. Weekend working will be involved when events are held outside the centre; these days can be recovered during the week.

•  Describe a typical day for the volunteer:
Courses generally start in the afternoon, at 15:00, and end at 21:30, with breaks depending on the timetable agreed with the pupils.

•  Special conditions of the assignment (optional):
The timetable will be constructed with the pupils according to numbers and/or needs.

- Previous experience:
Have worked with facilitating activities for young people.

•  Education:
Diploma in facilitation

•  Level of Spanish: At least intermediate

•  Skills and qualities required:
The volunteer must be sociable, flexible, independent and enjoy working with young people.

- Expenses covered by the foundation:

•  Expenses covered by the volunteer:
The volunteer will be provided accommodation and food with the family of one of the school's pupils in Guasmo Sur, an underprivileged quarter in the south of Guayaquil. In exchange, and in order to share in the financial costs, the volunteer must pay $5 per day.

- How can one travel to the training location from the closest airport? Approximate duration of the journey between the airport and the training location?
The volunteer must inform the coordinators of the place and time they will arrive in Guayaquil so that their arrival can be organised. The centre is located around 30-45 minutes from the airport and the bus station.

What means of transport are available? (bus, car etc.):
Taxi, motorbike, bus or car rental.

CV and covering letter in Spanish

January, Thursday 1 2015


Non-profit, private law organisation working in the social or public interest, legally constituted and registered as organisation 001653 on 4 June 1994 Ministry of Economic and Social Development (MIES)

Clave de Sur is situated in Guayaquil Town (click to go to the Guayaquil website), in the Guayas province. As Ecuador’s ‘second city’ and economic centre, Guayaquil is very important for the country and is the driving force behind its economic, cultural, political and commercial sectors, due to possessing the largest port on the west coast of Latin America. The town of Guayaquil is in south-west Ecuador, 270km away from Quito.
According to the census conducted in 2011 by the national institute of statistics and census, Guayaquil has 2,291,158 inhabitants, the largest single-town population in the country. Although the town was previously considered dangerous, since 1992 it has been spectacularly transformed thanks to local government policies. As a result, this modern yet colonial town with a fresh new face is now a trendy tourist destination thanks to its huge parks, green spaces, and good port and hotel facilities.

Clave de Sur was created when Magdalena Abrams’s ‘Mi Cometa’ movement started working with young people from the Guasmo Sur district. The different actors involved combined their efforts to establish a care organisation aimed at young people; a place where the area’s inhabitants could meet and interact. ‘Mi Cometa’, which is well-placed on a national level to promote grassroots initiatives and respect for human rights, helped to establish this project. The music school quickly homed in on the children, adolescents and families in the Guasmo Sur area south of Guayaquil.

In summer 2006, Magdalena Abrams, a musicology student at the University of Hamburg, decided to become actively involved with the project that wanted to establish ‘Mi Cometa’, and suggested creating a local music school. She made the most of her time in the area to meet its young people and regularly bring them to the ‘Mi Cometa’ workshops. She therefore put her first stay to good use, raising local awareness of what she was doing and demonstrating the advantages and aims of her project. The young people of Guasmo Sur were highly enthusiastic about being part of this kind of initiative, and fervently involved themselves in the first meetings, which took place in summer 2006.

Encouraged by this first experience, Magdalena wanted to make the partnership permanent, as initially it had been only a temporary project. In order to formalise her project, she created the organisation ‘Musiker ohne Grenzen – Musicos sin Frontera’, and consolidated her experience by returning the following summer with a group of musicians and a gift: musical instruments, to equip the local practice room provided by ‘Mi Cometa’. Every summer, German musicians come to meet young people in the area and train them to play new instruments, to reinforce their skills and to encourage the sharing of knowledge and practices throughout the year.

The music school, which was initially limited to temporary activities carried out during the summer, gradually took on a structure of its own and became independent from the ‘Musicos sin Frontera’ association.

Today, Clave de Sur is able to provide free music classes all year round. The young people who were involved with the project at the start are now in a position to teach, which means courses can be run all year long for newcomers interested in the project (music classes, both practical and theory, boosting community spirit, etc.). Despite now being independent from it, Clave de Sur maintains strong ties with ‘Musicos sin Frontera’ which continues to provide the newer association with willing participants.

Guasmo Sur, Cooperativa Mariuxi Febres Cordero Manzana 1674 solares 1 y 2


Office: +593 (0)4 24 57 017
Coordination: +593 (0)85 98 06 39
Coordination: +593 (0)9 22 69 605 (administration) (communication)

Association's Facebook page:
Google+ for the association: "Clave de Sur" (username)
Website :

The music school brings together children, adolescents and young adults from the Guasmo Sur area. They are passionate about the project and committed to sharing their knowledge with people who want to learn to play an instrument. This method of knowledge and skills transfer is a continuous process which allows the project to be sustainable in the long term. Alongside the classes given by the young people in the area, ‘Musicas sin Frontera’ offers its support by regularly sending music teachers. In summer, any young people who want to can enrich their own knowledge and/or get to grips with new teaching tools, thus making music accessible to everybody.

To contribute to personal development and to build solidarity in the Guasmo Sur neighbourhood.

SO1. Promoting and encouraging personal development by promoting access to knowledge and by realising the potential of each individual's abilities.

SO2. Encouraging local young people to open themselves to culture through interaction and sharing.

SO3. Promoting access to, and continuation of, quality education for infants and children at school.

Music School. The music school is an alternative space where the Guasmo Sur area's youngsters can express themselves, interact, and share their experiences through music and song. The way the school is run allows them to be fully involved in the project, since those who have benefited from training and music workshops are invited to share their knowledge with new arrivals who want to learn an instrument. More than a place of musical or academic learning, the school puts those who benefit from its classes on a true path towards becoming active, participatory members of the community.

1. Activities associated with Objective 1. Promoting and encouraging personal development by promoting access to knowledge and by realising the potential of each individual's abilities
- Musical creation and improvisation workshops.
- Workshop for the “sympathetic” interpretation of a musical work.
- Learning how to play an instrument.

2. Activities associated with Objective 2. Encouraging local young people to open themselves to culture through interaction and sharing.
- Establishing group-based musical activity.
- Welcoming people from outside the neighbourhood into the association’s activities.
- Passing on the skills learned to other young people who want to learn to play an instrument.
- Putting on concerts within the neighbourhood and beyond.

3. Activities associated with Objective 3. Promoting access to and continuation of quality education for infants and children at school.
- Learning to read sheet music.
- Giving children an experience of studying within an academic institution.

Population affected directly:

In 2011, 40 children officially benefited from the services offered by Clave de Sur. The organisation strives to accept all those interested in the project. The project is founded on learning music and is an excellent catalyst for an individual's social, cognitive, cultural, human and ethical development. Clave de Sur uses teaching and the practical use of musical instruments to encourage social mixing and interaction in the neighbourhood, thus reinforcing community spirit. The organisation aims to use workshops to give the participants a taste of interaction, regardless of their origins, school level or even social background.

Population affected indirectly.

The organisation is open to all. As such, it is not possible to know exactly how many people benefit from its activities at any one time. Anyone who, despite not having received formal musical training, is sensitive to the association's activities and the issues it faces could be referred to as an indirect beneficiary. As a general rule, this includes all the families of the children receiving music lessons, as well as the people around them who are aware of the project (extended family, neighbours, classmates etc. The whole Guasmo Sur district benefits from the activities of Clave de Sur, whose objective is to foster solidarity at the heart of the community.