Recognizing the migratory problems that the country has faced in recent years, and the agricultural potential that exists in border territory, we have developed two projects that contribute to going beyond humanitarian assistance, strengthening productive capacities in a collaborative effort between Venezuelans and the vulnerable Colombian population.
These projects are developed in the department of Arauca, in the municipalities of Saravena, Fortul, Tame, and Arauquita. They also have key allies such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Aid Live Foundation, UNICEF, International Red Cross, Digisalud, Saravena City Hall, Fedecacao, AgroPaz, COOPCACAO, International Organization for Migration, Border Management, Save The Children, Concentration for Rural Development School, La Salle University and Interinstitutional Group on Mixed Migratory Flows.
THE BROTHERHOOD ERA
With the alliance between the Aid Live Foundation and the PASO Colombia program, we created the “Escuela Rural Alternativa de la Hermandad”, in the municipality of Saravena. In it we have built bonds of trust between Venezuelan migrants, people who have returned and Colombians in vulnerable situations through different collaboration strategies:
- 25 children's dining rooms were created to improve the diet of 500 children, mainly migrants, with the delivery of 60,884 lunches. These spaces were accompanied in terms of hygiene and nutrition by 30 community mothers, who received a solidarity income for their work.
- The capacities of people (migrants-returnees) household heads with greater vulnerability were strengthened, with training processes under the learning-by-doing methodology:
- 60 mothers and fathers participated in this practical training where they recognized the potential of urban agriculture and cultivated 36 community gardens.
- They also participated in market spaces as well as in local marketing networks to strengthen sales strategies, both for their own businesses as well as for the surplus production of community gardens.
85% of the participants consider that the experience of the ERA de la Hermandad has improved their quality of life and that of their family. Along with increased trust among participants, the ERA de la Hermandad has strengthened their capacities through cooperation and learning.
ADDRESSING MIGRATION AND VALUE CHAINS IN THE ARAUCA REGION
Since 2021, PASO Colombia has been working with the Inter-American Development Bank on the project Addressing Migration and Value Chains in Arauca, which has as its objective to generate opportunities for socio-economic inclusion and employment for the vulnerable local population and Venezuelan migrants. The project focuses on the Arauca region and the strengthening of the cocoa, sacha inchi and beekeeping production chains.
From our experience in different parts of the country, we bring to this project one of our learnings: by increasing the productivity and sales of these agricultural lines, training the people linked to each initiative, the economy of the region will grow. In this way, we contribute to creating a cross-border synergy, in which the benefits of a well-trained workforce and agricultural production will expand not only on the Colombian side but also in the neighboring country.
This Project under development includes:
- Training of 1,000 migrants and returnees in agricultural processes to improve their employability.
- Strengthening peasant associations, cooperatives and small producers.
- Inclusion of traceability methodologies and technologies for the agricultural sector, which allow better quality and prices, as well as a constant offer of products from the area.