One Earth Future President Larry Sampler recently attended the Forum for Reconciliation (La Macrorrueda para Reconciliación) in Colombia. During his trip, he answered questions from El País, the Valle del Cauca’s largest newspapers. Sampler provided insights on attaining sustainable peace after prolonged conflict and how One Earth Future’s PASO Colombia program is working with communities to build peace at the territorial level.
PASO aspires to expand economic opportunities in the fishing, dairy and artisanal mining sectors in Colombia's Antioquia and Valle del Cuaca districts. PASO supports fishing communities in Buenaventura and the area of Punta Bonita, a region hit hard by violence, by boosting the sector’s capacity and creating greater access to markets and strengthening their local capacities. In Buga, PASO is facilitating the construction of a milk collection center that will benefit over 200 farming families from 14 villages who have lived for the past 50 years under the influence of the FARC rebel group. In Antioquia, PASO works with artisanal mining communities affected by conflict.
"We develop these activities within work teams where communities and social organizations are of the highest quality and where national and regional public institutions are involved,” said Sampler. "At this time we have been able to gather a significant number of interested strategic partners on these fronts.”
Sampler stressed that peace agreement between FARC and the Colombian government is not an end-point, but the beginning of a long process. OEF and PASO Colombia plan to work in the country for many years to give affected communities the proper support in a post-accord environment.
Read the full article with El País here