Rural Alternative Schools (ERA) | Fonseca, Colombia

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The Rural Alternative School (ERA) of Fonseca supports productive projects in the farm Nueva Colombia, where members of the excombatant cooperative COOMPAZCOL and campesinos of the village El Conejo collaborate. This farm is located near the Pondores Territorial Training and Reincorporation Space (ETCR), where the program also supports projects focused on guaranteeing food security for inhabitants.

Since 2018, COOMPAZCOL established a laying hen husbandry project as part of its social and economic reincorporation process. This productive unit has allowed for funding a varied network of agricultural projects, with which the ERA model has promoted sustainable rural development for this community.

Currently, the ERA of Fonseca is working to scale up the egg production project with the goal of having 8,000 hens that would produce 1,400,000 eggs per year. This expansion would involve women from seven nearby villages in training and income generating activities, in addition to producing eggs that can be sold at a fair price. To consolidate this goal, the ERA of Fonseca proposes a gender approach in which women will work collectively in different facilities, thus harnessing their associative capacities as a key resource for successfully scaling up the initiative. The ERA of Fonseca has very special geographic conditions. The aridity of the terrain, rainfall scarcity, and reduced access to water contrast with the tropical dry forests that surround the area. The result is a landscape of dry soils; long dry seasons; and huge Caracolí and Ceiba trees that feed on groundwater flowing from the mountains, which keeps alive the crops, nurseries, and orchards that make up other agricultural projects developed so far.

The ERA of Fonseca has partners such as the UN Verification Mission, the World Food Program, and the National Learning Service (SENA).