Working with BHP Billiton to Build Resilient Communities in Colombia

Working with BHP Billiton to Build Resilient Communities in Colombia

This story originally appeared on www.bhpbilliton.com.

A US$28.6 million, five-year investment by BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities is changing the lives of vulnerable populations in Colombia. 

The ANDA program (a Spanish word meaning ‘moving forward’) is implemented by Global Communities and began in early 2013.

Now, almost two years into the partnership, the program is delivering sustainable change to alleviate poverty and hardship.

Who is the project aiming to help?
The program targets vulnerable populations in the six rural municipalities of Montelibano, Puerto Libertador, La Apartada, San Jose de Ure, Buenavista and Planeta Rica in the Department of Cordoba and the cities of Monteria and Cartagena in Colombia. BHP Billiton’s Cerro Matoso ferronickel operation is located in the Cordoba region near Montelibano.

Many Colombians continue to suffer the effects of decades of violent conflict and the traumatic impacts of displacement, including lack of access to public services such as health, education, water and sanitation, and the economic opportunities and social safety nets that alleviate poverty.

How does the program work?
ANDA aims to work with people to build their capacity to identify, advocate for and mobilize the resources and services they need from local government agencies. It also works with local governments to help them access governmental resources to address local community needs, and with the private sector and families to help create income generation and employment opportunities.

Puro Lacteos

Puro Lacteos employs 38 people, mostly young people, who are now learning how to run a producer’s association and developing entrepreneurial skills. Puro Lacteos purchases milk from local farms and converts it into a broad variety of popular dairy products. Thanks to ANDA, they continue to diversify their range. Omaida Isabel Martinez Benitez, a youth working in the association, says “We have a vision by 2025 to be a major enterprise.

 

Centro Alegre

The rural community of Centro Alegre was ravaged by violence during the worst years of conflict in Colombia. It was struggling with a lack of access to basic services like potable water, health services, and suffered from prolonged economic depression with high unemployment. ANDA worked with the community to form a development council, and together they worked to assess needs, reclaim the capacity they had lost, and build a sustainable future.

 

E+G Store

Robinson Restan (pictured) and Arianis Doria were displaced from their home by violence in 1989, and struggled to make a living to support their children. Today, with support and training from ANDA, they run a successful convenience store and are sharing what they’ve learnt with their family and the community.

Who is Global Communities?
Global Communities is an international development organization that works in conflict-affected and developing countries. They build the capacity of local partners, organizations, government and communities to be economically, socially and environmentally self-sufficient.

Here are some examples of what the ANDA program has delivered so far:

  • 18 Community Development Plans developed, with a second group of 18 in progress.
  • 22 Community Management Committees formed consisting of 592 members (42% men and 58% women) representing 11 different population groups.
  • 38 community initiatives formulated, prioritized and implemented through Community Management Committees.
  • 20 project proposals submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture for funding to support agricultural programs and small producer associations.
  • A partnership with the National Vocational Training Centre (SENA for its acronym in Spanish) to provide technical assistance in fishing, vegetables and tubers, and dairy production.
  • 232 functioning small businesses have been created in Cartagena and 64 in Monteria.
  • Successful job placements for 30 people in various fields.
  • Seed grants to help 302 families implement small business plans.
  • Health brigades to offer medical services and education in the communities where development programs are operating.
  • 393 participants graduated from training to build life and business plans.

For more about the ANDA program.

For more about BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities.