Colombia’s Chocó department has a history of security problems, limited access to the health services, and poor sustainable economic opportunities. To address these issues, PASO Colombia has partnered with the COOVIDECUJI cooperative and the ASOMUJIGUA women’s association to establish the Rural Alternative School (ERA) of Carmen del Darién. The COOVIDECUJI cooperative was created by the Major Community Council of Jiguamiandó River Basin and supports the reintegration of 29 ex-combatants, while the ASOMUJIGUA women’s association is made up of 53 participants. The ERA has been provided a 5-hectare plot of land by the Major Community Council. Together, the COOVIDECUJI cooperative and the ASOMUJIGUA women’s association will establish a community garden where they will recover ancestral knowledge to preserve and cultivate medicinal herbs. The herbs will be used to develop health and personal care products that can be commercially distributed at both the local and national level.
The ERA of Carmen del Darién is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN), the National Training Service (SENA) and the cooperative ECOMUN.