Cali’s Rural Alternative School is the first to be developed in an urban area, thanks to the adaptable nature of the collaborative platform model, which can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the communities it serves. Currently, the Cali ERA has two nodes where community and productive projects are developed to support the social and economic reincorporation of its members.
The first node consists of the Ciudad Paz cooperative, a collective with 11 members, including ex-combatants, their families and people from the community. Its objective is to generate processes to strengthen and support productive initiatives of former combatants, especially from the productive chain and commercialization in the city. Whether in farmer markets, sales outlets or social networks, Ciudad Paz takes its brands throughout the country to show the fruits that collaborative work can yield.
Based on training and technical support provided by different partners, Ciudad Paz has established a beekeeping production chain in rural areas surrounding the city. In their dedication to a solidarity economy, they have also established a productive chain in collaboration with an association of rural farmers or “campesinos” and indigenous people from the department. Together, they produce dehydrated fruits that are now being marketed through Ciudad Paz. Furthermore, they created a garment workshop in the eastern part of the city, where they train and employ women heads of household. The workshop produces garments for its own brand called "Rebel" and also caters to the demand from partnerships with the private sector.
The collective vocation has always been an integral part of Ciudad Paz. This is how Johan Niño, representative of the cooperative, explains it, insisting:
“Collective work generates higher levels of solidarity and greater possibilities of establishing processes with the environment, the territory, other communities and the families of their colleagues, neighbors, as well as with the institutions. These productive projects are stronger and more resilient.”