The Rural Alternative School of El Tarra, Norte de Santander, is the first in the country with a mixed reincorporation program that combines individual production projects with collaborative training activities and sales efforts. El Tarra municipality is known as “The heart of Catatumbo.” This region is key to constructing peace in that it was strongly affected by armed conflict before and after the 2016 Peace Deal. El Tarra was also plagued by illicit crops for many years, is very rich in natural resources, and is strategically located on the Colombia-Venezuela border.
60 ex-combatants from the Caño Indio Territorial Training and Reincorporation Space (ETCR) migrated to El Tarra with the intention of reincorporating via individual livestock projects. The UN Verification Mission asked PASO Colombia to support these ex-combatants using the combined experience of ERAs across the country. PASO adapted the ERA model (which was originally created to support group projects) to support individual initiatives, taking inspiration from other successful collaborative rural platforms.
25 ex-combatants and 3 peasants from the region are participating in this ERA. They receive need-based training at La Aurora farm, where they learn about sustainable livestock from the farm’s five years of experience. They are also building protein banks (areas planted with legumes and grasses) to feed livestock, receive support to genetically improve double-purpose livestock, and receive individual support that is tailored to the needs of each farm from agriculture and livestock technicians.
One of the ERA’s goals is to get participants to create a Livestock Committee where they work on sales initiatives and establish a network of purchasers with fair trade conditions.
This ERA receives assistance from the UN Verification Mission, the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN), La Aurora Farm and El Tarra City Hall.