Agua Bonita and Miravalle (Colombia) Developmental Evaluation report finds community transforming opportunities and initiatives

The Developmental Evaluation Report prepared by Agirre Lehendakaria Center in partnership with the inhabitants of the Agua Bonita and Miravalle spaces, the team of the European Fund for Peace in Colombia and LKS-Alecop, presents the opportunities and initiatives that are starting to transform these communities. An economic movement and new employment opportunities are being created, while ground is being lost in gender equity. 

The report includes the following aspects of Developmental Evaluation that interconnect to create systemic and structural change:

1. Perceptions collected through interviews.

2. Profiles that collect segmented perceptions.

3. Portfolio of ongoing initiatives mentioned in the interviews and reflected in the observations.

4. Portfolio of ideas shared in interviews and observations.

5. Quantitative and qualitative information on the European Peace Facility. 

The information collected allowed for the identification of five themes that offer opportunities and pose challenges for these communities:

Collective vs individual reinstatement

As the collective project is shaped through initiatives, such as the cooperative or groups working on specific issues, two types of attitudes are identified. On the one hand, those who trust the process and continue to put all their energy into moving the collective project forward feel connected to the people in the community and are not attracted by the possibility of starting life elsewhere. On the other hand, there are people who do not believe in the project and do wish to go and live elsewher.

Economic movement and new employment opportunities are being created

There are still no productive projects that offer sustainable and quality employment for all people in the community. Many people have to travel to other places to work. The people who trust in the cooperative project see the investment that each one will make with the 8 million they will receive from the government as a great opportunity to boost local economic activity and create quality sustainable employment for more people. However, there is still a perception that this is a long-term project and there is a risk that not everyone will remain involved in the long term.

Democracy models and organizational models that include all inhabitants

Participatory democracy models are perceived as a strength in the community. The inhabitants have confidence in the structure that is being built through the following three lines: the economic line from the cooperative; the social line from the Community Action Board and the political line with the FARC party. The challenge now is to consolidate this structure and connect it to existing government structures at the local, departmental and national level. It is seen as an opportunity for Agua Bonita to be the epicentre of a larger process to involve people from the surrounding communities in its project.

The gender equality achieved during the war is now being lost

There is very little talk of gender equality. In the visits and routines of the people interviewed, a tendency is perceived for women to take on the tasks of caretakers and housewives, while men take on the jobs outside the home.

Mistrust of public institutions

There is still widespread mistrust of public institutions. There has been some willingness at some points to trust local institutions but the perception prevails that the process is continuing thanks to the support of international cooperation and presence.

After collecting and studying the narratives in depth, a number of opportunities are leading to continue enabling the transformation that these communities in the future:

1. Connection between the ETCRs and surrounding communities.

How could we create connections between the people in the ETCRs and people living in the surrounding communities?

2. Intra-community connection.

How can we strengthen the connections that already exist among people in the community? How could we create new connections that would enrich the quality of life in the community?

3. Fluid, transparent communication.

How could we enable fluid, transparent communication among the community’s various groups and profiles?

4. Generate initiatives around the family unit.

How could we build initiatives that revolve around the family unit?

5. Balance between individual reincorporation and collective reincorporation.

How could we continue to reflect on and identify initiatives for the desired balance between individual and collective reintegration?

6. Connect and enhance the work of the spaces.

How could we create connections between spaces to share learning? How could we create connections between international spaces and entities to reflect on their model? What is working and what do they want to change?

7. Training coupled with employment opportunities.

How could we offer training that responds to the interests of people in the community while creating employment opportunities?

8. Mistrust of public institutions and the potential to learn about opportunities offered by public policies. 

How can we make the potential of public policies visible and tangible? How could public policies be enriched by an understanding of the local context?

For key points in the pilot project we recommend you read the executive summary and the information of the Developmental Evaluation in greater detail. We are sharing the full report.