New Rural School in Cali Supports COVID-19 Emergency in the City

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New Rural School in Cali Supports COVID-19 Emergency in the City

The first urban-based Rural Alternative School began to operate in Cali. It aims to create jobs and training opportunities for ex-combatants living in urban areas. Since the Peace Agreement, most reincorporation efforts have focused on rural areas. For implementing this ERA, PASO Colombia designed an "Urban Peace” strategy bringing together partners such as the Cali Chamber of Commerce, the National Training Service (SENA), the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN), and the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. The main participating organization is  SERVIAMPAZ, an association of ex-combatant’s living in Cali.

SERVIAMPAZ is organized as an entrepreneurship network, which connects productive projects from the Pacific Colombian zone (Buenaventura to Guapi), with the rural area of Valle del Cauca department. These connections allow an economic output of agricultural products in the city, thanks to value chains that have been established for its commercialization. Currently, the cooperative has 26 participants and 150 additional people are connected to the cooperative and obtaining benefits from its commercial activities.

In the midst of the social emergency generated by COVID-19, a shortage of masks and other cleaning supplies has been identified in Cali to avoid the spread of the virus. To help confront this shortage, PASO Colombia donated material to  SERVIAMPAZ to create 12,000 masks. These masks will be manufactured by 4 families members of the cooperative, and they will be sold together with other bio-protection items, such as protective visors and antibacterial gel.

It is important to highlight that Cali has recorded the second highest number of positive cases for COVID-19 in Colombia. Here, vulnerable population sectors (with high demographic concentration and low economic resources) will have stronger lockdown policies by the municipal government. For this reason, it is essential to provide protective  items that are currently sold out in the market or whose prices have increased significantly.

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