Since January 2021, two communities of excombatants who settled in Mutatá, Antioquia, have been participating in the pilot project "Rural Alternative School (ERA) of Communication, co-financed by the “Imagining Our Image (INI, for its acronym in Spanish) 2020” grant, awarded by the Ministry of Culture to PASO Colombia. The project brings together members of the cooperatives COOFORTUNA and COOPEMPRENDER —partners of the ERAs of Mutatá and Ituango, respectively— family members, and victims of the armed conflict who live with excombatants in their settlements.
Participants of the Communication ERA are trained to use their own voices and perspectives to tell the stories of reconciliation and entrepreneurship behind their productive projects. In this process, they develop their own brands and create content for social media to support product marketing and project funding efforts.
Currently, the post-production phase of audiovisual pieces co-created with participants is underway and will soon be disseminated through their social media.
BRANDS THAT TELL A STORY
The objective of the Communication ERA is to strengthen the brands created by the participating cooperatives, as well as their digital presence, by developing narratives of social entrepreneurship and reconciliation that capture the stories and perceptions of the communities about their own reality.
“We are a community that builds dreams of peace from the ABIBE mountain range to the world.”
“We are a campesino group by birth who live in Ituango and Mutatá. We unite people undergoing a reincorporation process with the community, to create opportunities for everyone.”
The Avive brand, created by the community of San José de León and focused in artisanal fish farming, ecotourism, and clothing, was born in the Communication ERA and built its brand manual during this process. Currently, it is producing several lines of audiovisual content for its social media.
Paramillo expanded its scope as a coffee brand and will now cover other activities such as the manufacture of natural concentrates. To this end, it will soon launch the crowdfunding campaign #LetUsFeedPeace (#AlimentemosLaPaz, in Spanish) in partnership with Bay-Build and PASO Colombia to finance the construction of a concentrate factory, which will allow participants to generate income while lowering the costs of animal husbandry for local campesino communities. The campaign will be implemented with communication materials designed, recorded, and edited as part of the work conducted in the Communication ERA.
With the support of PASO Colombia’s Communications team and workshop specialists such as the renowned artist Édgar Álvarez, creator of Should I Explain It in Modelling Clay?, the training process explores different forms of audiovisual, plastic, and digital expression that are relevant to develop communication strategies under the concept of liquid content in social media.
Through the “learning by doing” approach that characterizes PASO Colombia’s ERAs, the initiative covers topics such as brand identity, storytelling, script writing, social media management, photography, and audiovisual production.