(Find here the full radio program in Spanish. Listen to the interview with Juan Fernando Lucio and María Paz from min 33)
In the program En Familia, produced by Caracol Radio—Colombia’s most popular opinion-based radio station—Judith Sarmiento spoke with Juan Fernando Lucio, PASO Colombia’s Director, and María Paz, a member of the brand La Montaña - Voluntad de Paz and participant of the Rural Alternative School (ERA) of Anorí. In this program, participants addressed the topic of decent work and economic development for reincorporation in Colombia. The program invited other speakers who addressed the effects of the pandemic and other challenges facing Colombia in its attempt to achieve the goal of sustainable development regarding decent work.
Mr. Lucio explained that the Peace Agreement, which provides for collective economic reincorporation in coordination with the campesino (rural peasant) communities, has been an important reference to bolster PASO’s proposals to promote employability for ex-combatants. Together with ex-combatant cooperatives, campesino organizations, the government, the international community, private companies, and academic institutions, PASO has implemented a reincorporation model based on associative models, where participants own their businesses and cooperate to create sustainable economies. In this regard, Mr. Lucio stated that “there are productive projects under consolidation that are financially sound in sectors like fish farming, honey, coffee, among others (...) The communities have strengthened themselves by creating associations and now there is a better relationship between campesinos and ex-combatants in places where this model is implemented.” Mr. Lucio also mentioned the progress made by the Peace Process in keeping the majority of signatories within legality, and mentioned some challenges that still need to be addressed, such as land access, housing, and security issues.
Mrs. María Paz shared the experience of La Montaña - Voluntad de Paz, a brand with three production lines (honey, essences, and apparel) and the support provided by PASO Colombia. María explains that “these lines seek to generate sustainable economies by protecting the environment and providing fair working conditions for ex-combatants and nearby communities. The products are well appreciated by consumers, and their quality and origin make people consume and recommend them.”
María emphasized that they still have to overcome the challenge of increasing awareness of their productive projects in order for ex-combatants to access a more sustainable economy together with local communities. Meanwhile, the radio program emphasized that “despite the difficulties, we as Colombians want to open the door to the possibility of dreaming of a stable, possible, and lasting peace.”