Political and narcotic-driven violence has deeply affected Colombia for 50 years, resulting in an estimated 4.5 million displaced people and many more victims of conflict. Today, the security situation is improving, and Global Communities is partnering the Government of Colombia and Colombian communities to help victims recover from the conflict socially, economically, and in terms of health and welfare. Global Communities has worked in Colombia since 2001 as a partner for good with the Colombian people.
Since 2001, with funding from the US Department of State, Global Communities has been assisting internally displaced persons and victims of conflict by partnering with the Government of Colombia and civil society organizations to strengthen their ability to implement new policies and laws set up to assist returnees and victims of violence, while continuing to address their immediate humanitarian needs. At the same time, Global Communities is working to strengthen capacity of Government of Colombia institutions and other actors to develop tools, systems, and skills that will empower it to fulfill its mandate to resolve land issues and restore land to victims of conflict with funding from USAID.
ANDA – Go Forward!
In 2013, Global Communities partnered with BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities (BSC) to further expand our services to displaced people. Together, Global Communities and BSC developed the ANDA program, a $28.6 million, five-year program specifically designed to address the needs of internally displaced persons and vulnerable communities to complement poverty reduction efforts by the national government. ANDA, a Colombian Spanish word meaning “to go forward” and an exclamation of positive surprise, is targeting poor communities in the northern Colombia department of Cordoba. It is helping women, youth, Afro-Colombians and indigenous persons living in and around the cities of Monteria and Cartagena, all of which have large populations of displaced persons.
Decades of conflict have left these areas impoverished and without access to vital public services such as health care, water, sanitation, and education, as well as economic opportunities. The program also aims to provide vulnerable communities with practical solutions to help them achieve greater economic and social stability. At the end of its five-year span, the program aims to have assisted 59,000 of Colombia’s most vulnerable people. To learn more, please visit the ANDA website.
With funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Global Communities is helping build institutional and community capacity to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS. Program activities focus on the displaced youth population; men who have sex with men; sex workers; transgender, transsexuals and transvestites; street people and other people living with HIV or AIDS and key populations at a higher risk for contracting HIV. Global Communities is supporting community capacity building to promote the adoption of safe sex practices, reduce social risk of HIV and empower of at-risk groups. This is being implemented by promoting behavior change, increasing of the demand for voluntary counseling and testing, and supporting timely access to diagnosis by at-risk groups. Activities are being conducted at the grassroots level using a network of 1,200 peer leaders, 152 community services providers and 75 municipalities. At the institutional level, the program aims to build the organizational, administrative and technical capacities of both public and private health institutions to provide improved services for at-risk groups.
The Conocimiento y Reduccion de Riesgos (Knowledge and Risk Reduction) program is working with public and private actors to reduce vulnerability to landslides, earthquakes, flooding and fire-related disasters in urban neighborhoods of Medellín. Funded by USAID/OFDA, the program aims to improve disaster management using the a "neighborhood approach" that emphasizes resident participation in disaster planning and preparedness through hazard identification and disaster risk reduction (DRR) infrastructure and economic recovery and market system interventions.
Express Microfinanzas is Global Communities microfinance institution in Colombia. Express Microfinanzas began in 2004 as “Microdes,” part of a larger USAID-funded income generation program implemented by Global Communities; today it is standing on its own and has nearly 8,000 clients and a portfolio of US$9 million. Of those clients, the repayment rate is more than 96 percent. Express Microfinanzas operates in the heart of the Kennedy locality in southwest Bogota, the most populous locality in the city, where its clients live and work. Express Microfinanzas’ staff reflects its clients – 57 percent are women – and its 90 employees are recruited from the local communities and trained in our specific approach to lending, to ensure that we meet both financial and social needs.
From 2010 to 2016, Global Communities implemented the USAID-funded Colombia Responde initiative in the Montes de Maria region of Colombia to re-establish the Government of Colombia’s presence in the region, with a particular focus on creating the conditions necessary to promote sustainable peace and security for displaced communities to return to their homes. Colombia Responde focused on the following three objectives: improving governance and strengthening coordination mechanisms that enable ongoing civilian-led, whole-of-government interventions, with the participation of civil society; enhancing access to locally provided state services; and increasing licit livelihoods and job opportunities for conflict-affected populations. By working with multiple government entities, community and private sector stakeholders, Colombia Responde has helped to establish a sustainable state of peace and security in Montes de Maria.