Tag: Colombia

Cooperatives and Peace: a report on cooperatives’ contributions to peacebuilding and conflict resolution

Cooperatives Europe releases its latest #coops4dev research report with the support of the CEDP.
Cooperatives Europe released today a new thematic research “Cooperatives and Peace: Strengthening Democracy, Participation and Trust – A Case Study Approach,” showcasing twenty case studies from more than fourteen countries, covering different types and stages of conflicts.
Presenting practical examples, the report looks at cooperatives contributing to the empowerment of minority groups affected by conflict, providing decent work and sustainable development in fragile contexts, as well as supporting mitigation of conflict through partnerships with other actors and the provision of humanitarian support.
The report demonstrates that cooperatives can play an important role in peacebuilding worldwide, while also contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By building self-sufficient and resilient communities, and by encouraging dialogue and democratic participation, the cooperative business model is able to bridge the gap between conflict resolution and long term development strategies, addressing persistent structural challenges facing communities. The report also offers a number of conclusions and recommendations addressed to policymakers, cooperative leaders, and external partners.
Produced in the framework of the ICA-EU Partnership (#coops4dev), the research was supported by the Cooperatives Europe Development Platform (CEDP), co-authored by the Co-operative College, Kooperationen and Coopermondo, with input from all CEDP members. Coopermondo participated directly in the research and the elaboration of the report, where AGRICOOP Colombia project and a project implemented by Armadilla in Siria are showcased. 
The report was endorsed by key stakeholders, including high level representatives from the cooperative movement, civil society, local authorities, and the EU. MEP Stelios Kouloglou, the Vice-Chair of the DEVE Committee in the European Parliament, highlighted the value of partnering with cooperatives for peacebuilding, mentioning that: “the role of these partnerships will be of particular relevance for decision-makers, who can look to international cooperative development as an additional strategy for peacebuilding.”
The report is available here

WomeNPowerment: the cooperative way to gender equality in Italy and in the world

Women cooperating in Italy and in the world; women who, in developing countries, are gathering together in order to overcome injustice and inequalities and to create new opportunities for themselves and their communities. This is the file rouge inspiring “WomeNpowerment in Coops – Italian cooperative experiences toward the achievement of gender equality in the world“, an editorial project written by Coopermondo (Confcooperative’s[1] NGO) and Confcooperative’s Commission of Women Cooperative Managers. In the book, Italian and international co-operative stories show the added value of co-operation for the achievement of gender equality. Goal n. 5 of the SDGs is Confcooperative, which shows a female employment rate that exceeds 61% of the employed (528,000) of its enterprises (19,000), where female governance stands at 26% (10% more than to other business models).
The handbook has been launched in occasion of International Women Day 2018, during an international conference who counted on the presence of Maurizio Gardini, President of Confcooperative, Bianca Maria Pomeranzi, senior expert in gender issue from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Simel Esim, Director of Cooperative Unit, ILO, United Nations together with many cooperators’ women experts in different fields.
“In developing countries, cooperatives enterprises are and will increasingly be committed to transferring know-how to trigger local development and to make women and men protagonists in their own communities. Also, in Italy, co-operatives are one of the very few tools for social mobility for women and youth. In our members cooperatives – says Maurizio Gardini, president of Confcooperative – the female employment rate is equal to 61%. In the implementation of development projects, in low-income countries, we promote a model that put the  social rescue before the economic value, in order to guarantee the dignity of one person. In this common thread there is all the essence of co-operation, the real one, which includes, attentiveness to the needs of the territory and makes the economy grow together with people”.
“Women, especially in contexts of poverty, are those who represent the majority of the workforce, the most reliable in credit refunds, women are those that can play a key role in the processes of inclusion and integration in local territories. The WomeNpowerment project – adds Claudia Fiaschi, Confcooperative’s and Coopermondo’s Vice-President – is a space for discussion between both women and men cooperators to find common solutions to individual problems. Both in Italy and developing countries, many women faces challenges and abuses; a co-operative enterprise in many cases represent the space where they found economic independence and solidarity within a network of women, fundamental for their professional and personal empowerment”.
«Confcooperative – says Anna Manca, Coordinator of the Commission for Women Co-operative Managers, Confcooperative – broadens the focus to gender policies also in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The full affirmation of a model of fair and sustainable development cannot be separated from a more active and conscious role of women on which the cooperative world has shown that it can measure itself with good results. Even if we are strongly committed to promoting equality in political, economic and decision-making processes, unfortunately there are still too many women who do not have access to education, medical care and decent work. Reaching gender equality and promoting the empowerment of girls and women, as foreseen by Agenda 2030, is not only a fundamental human right, but the necessary condition for a model of development that everyone will benefit from».
MOZAMBIQUE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, BRAZIL, ITALY: COOPERATIVE STORIES OF GENDER EQUALITY
Africa Hand Project (Mozambique). The goal of the project is to reduce hunger and poverty through the development of a sustainable agriculture and the dairy industry in Mozambique, by promoting a cooperative supply chain that can improve the nutritional education of the population and make women protagonists. In Mozambique, in fact, almost half of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition that begins already during pregnancy and limits development in the early years of life. Therefore, the project also promote the supply of milk and dairy products to pregnant women and children under five years of age, integrating their diet with products, the result of local breeding, with a high nutritional profile and able to make the difference.
AGRICOOP Mujer (Colombia). Creating bonds of trust between women from five different ethnic groups, in a social context strained by years of guerrilla warfare and drug trafficking, in order to engage them and promote a safe and economic independence. This is AGRICOOP, a process of empowerment of over 100 women who were able to overcome mutual distrust. Coopermondo – Confcooperative has followed their training. Some of them joined a weavers’ cooperative to sell their products. Others want to be part of this chain and become sheep breeders to ensure the supply of wool for the creation of artifacts. Fundamental for the development of the community is to have created an area of knowledge and sharing.
Microfinanza Campesina (Ecuador). As part of the wider Microfinanza Campesina project in Ecuador, which sees the Federation of Credit Cooperative Banks (Federcasse – BCC) engaged since 2002 alongside two Ecuadorian entities (banCODESARROLLO and FEPP) for the development and strengthening of popular finance, attention is dedicated to women. The subsidized loans of Federcasse have allowed banCODESARROLLO, over time, to field more than 45 million dollars to provide loans to about 12,000 Ecuadorian women, in many cases grouped into cooperatives. When this money is returned, they have played an important role for these women and their families. Those loans have turned into land, home, animals, seeds, tools. They have become dignity, freedom, well-being, fairness.
Juntos contra a Exclusão Social (Brazil). The project aims to promote social and economic integration and to improve the living conditions and social and economic integration of women and young people of 110 families in the cities of Fortaleza and Recife who live in extreme fragile conditions. The project also aims to the empowerment and professional training of 120 women and youth, helping them to create a path of self-entrepreneurship even in a cooperative way. Both in Fortaleza and in Recife, the women involved in the project have a very low schooling rate (41.5) and belong to discriminated ethnic groups (black and mestizo). Nine out of ten women have one to four children, four out of ten are divorced and almost seven out of ten have a very low paid job. In Brazil, in order to obtain a pension from the State, 49 years of contributions are required, and many people will not be able to benefit from it in the future. Hence, the importance of offering women who have started an individual activity, the opportunity to join a cooperative.
The Cantina Clavesana (Piemonte, Italy). Founded in April 27, 1959 from 32 winemakers to transform the grapes conferred by the 300 members with a total production of 30,000 hectoliters of wine and a vineyard area of 450 hectares all certified with the Denomination of Controlled Origin D.O.C. and Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin D.O.C.G. The female-run winery has activated 4.0 agriculture projects to monitor the vineyards using drones and satellites to reduce costs and environmental impact. Among the best practices is that of holiday planning that takes place according to the needs of women workers: 60% of working women ask for flexibility to respond to needs such as assisting children or the elderly, as well as permits for visits and medical treatment. For work at the weekend, between workers, a structured turnaround and a compensation of hours and days are activated.
Open Space “Milano 6 L’Altro” (Milan, Italy). A path of empowerment that helps women to get back to work by designing new services for the community. The project is characterized by making women active and overcoming the challenges of reconciliation. Motherhood and work life are the starting point. One in four women leaves the world of work after having their first child. This project identifies solutions to help families to find quality, economic and shared answers such as condominiums and baby-sitting services. The method for this process is that of design thinking. There are many women involved in the path and each carrying a different story with her: different paths of life; Italian women, as well as foreigners who have suffered from immigration stories and who had to start over again in Italy. In common they all have the desire to be protagonists of their own lives.
The San Leopoldo cooperative (Grosseto, Italy). Established in 1998 for fishing, aquaculture and related activities, the cooperative aims at creating job opportunities for its members. The members of the cooperative are in possession of a degree in Biology, Agricultural Sciences and Economics, as well as qualifications for professional fishing and underwater activities. The diversification of skills ensures professionalism in various sectors of activity. To date, the cooperative is active in various fields: 1) professional fishing and related activities (fishing tourism); 2) aquaculture; 3) technical assistance for funding applications to fishermen and fish farmers; 4) scientific research; 5) project design (Interreg, EASME, FEAMP …); 6) environment: particular attention is given to environmental issues through specific sector projects, such as the repopulation of river courses with eels.
 
Download the handbook here http://www.coopermondo.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/WomeNpowerment_InCoops-ENG.pdf
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[1] Confcooperative is the Italian Confederation of Cooperatives, representing more than 18.000 co-operatives,

Coopermondo visits Ortega community (Cauca) with ARN

Coopermondo has started an exchange of experiences in the field of cooperativism and associativity in partnership with the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN), which is dedicated to the reintegration into Colombian society of demobilized persons from armed groups in the margin of the law.
The week of February 5 to 11 Coopermondo has been in the Cauca Region where it has visited the community of Ortega, made up of 120 families dedicated to coffee production. Fernando Bragado, Coordinator of Coopermondo in Colombia, states: “In this recognition phase, the associative initiatives of Ortega are being visited to identify opportunities to be strengthened as well as identify where it is possible to articulate institutional offers.” Additionally, he shared with the group the experiences of the agreements with SENA in the department of Valle and the impact it has had on the Vallecaucanos peasants.
During the visit, a recognition of the territory was made by the delegates of Coopermondo, representatives of the ARN, the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers and the International Organization for Migration – IOM. The tour of the area was guided by Eymer Muñoz, Technician of the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers, allowing visitors to learn about the production processes of the 13 lots of coffee crops and the associative work that has been carried out so far in the community of the Ortega corregimiento.
In addition, the tour allowed the delegates of the different organizations to visit the estate of Mr. Pedro Quina, one of the oldest associates of the area, who completed his reintegration process, and today manages to cultivate together with his 4 children more than 1,000 coffee plants, achieving recognition in the community for their discipline and product excellence. In the territory it was identified that the hectares of coffee crops are divided by families of people in the process of reintegration, each one belonging to between 1 and 2.5 hectares.
The community initiative in Ortega – Cajibío, is one of the pioneering projects in Colombia within the framework of the reintegration process, Ángela María Medina, Coordinator of the ARN Cauca Territorial Group, said: “The articulated work between the community and the support of the institutionality , has generated great opportunities from the process of reintegration that have resulted in benefits in the productive associative processes of Ortega coffee growers ».
The Italian NGO, Coopermondo, seeks to promote sustainable economic and social development through the creation of new cooperatives at international level. In Colombia, it has signed 4 agreements with the SENA and offers technical assistance in the training of trainers in associative issues. It also has 18 pilot programs in corregimientos of Cauca and Valle del Cauca.
Taking into account Coopermondo’s extensive experience in cooperative issues, the ARN explained the work carried out in the corregimiento of Ortega with a population in the process of reintegration, in order to exchange experiences and evaluate the possibility of working together with the SENA, in such a way that it is possible to train the population and obtain more effective results in terms of production and associativity.
(Adapted from reintegración.gov.co)

Solidarity with Colombian cooperatives: disaster in Mocoa

On the night between 1 and 2 April, violent rains hit the area of ​​Mocoa, department of Putomayo (southwestern Colombia), causing avalanches and flooding. The victims are 311, including 100 children. Local authorities have handed over 237 bodies to families, which means that there are still 75 missing bodies.
The department of Putumayo borders the Cauca, where Coopermondo is developing the AGRICOOP Colombia and AGRICOOP Mujer projects. Moreover Mocoa is just 250 km from Popayan, the main city of the Cauca Region. Coopermondo expresses its sympathy and solidarity with its local partner the Confederación de Cooperativas de Colombia – Confecoop, who called to action the Colombian and the international cooperative movement: Coopermondo feels very close to this drama and is committed to being at the forefront to offer its own cooperation.
Based on the sixth cooperative principle – cooperation among cooperatives – Confecoop Colombia promotes a fundraising for the recovery of cooperatives in Mocoa. It takes so contribute to the normalization of operations that will guarantee the same services and attention to the thousands of members and their families. The collection of resources aims to ensure the stability and permanence of the region’s cooperatives that associate more than 14,000 people: once the time of emergency due to avalanche is passed, Confecoop will assess the situation of cooperatives and, based on the funding received, it will establish projects and actions to execute.

Make a donation now for the victims of this tragedy to Coopermondo:
IBAN: IT26A0832703235 000000002903
BIC: ROMAITRRXXX
Bank: BCC di Roma
Object: “Solidarity to Mocoa cooperatives, Colombia

Coopermondo will keep donors informed on how Confecoop will use the funds raised.

Going ahead with the four AGRICOOP projects

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]From 20 September to 1 October 2016 a technical mission, formed by Coopermondo’s team, traveled to Colombia to implement the first phase of the AGRICOOP project in partnership with the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA). The program aims to realize a need assesment and, together with the experts of the SENA and Confecoop (the Colombian Cooperative Confederation), training activities, technical assistance and support to the creation of new cooperatives in three regions of the country (Cauca, Valle del Cauca and San Andrés)
The mission was formed by the Camilla Carabini (Communication Manager and coordinator of the Project “WomeNpowerment – Women cooperators and cooperating in the world” by Coopermondo), Giovanni Pausini – Agricultural expert Coopermondo, Alessandra Nasti – expert in fisheries and aquaculture of CIRSPE – and Graziano Molon – tourism expert and culture of Trentino Wine Consortium – Trentino Federation of Cooperation. The mission was led by Fernando Bragado, project manager of Coopermondo in Colombia and Luisa Fernanda Gallo, head of AGRICOOP project for the SENA.
AGRICOOP CAUCA
The Agricoop project in the Cauca region is divided into two projects:
AGRICOOP 2.0 which aims to provide technical assistance to trout farmers in improving the quality of production and in improving associationism to generate economies of scale in procurement of inputs, processing and marketing. Alessandra Nasti has worked with trout producers showing them the Italian cooperative system and dialoguing with them to understand what strategic activities to perform.
The three experts have then carried out a day of training and exchange of experiences with the SENA technicians in agriculture, tourism and aquaculture.
AGRICOOP Mujer working with more than 300 women in a process of gender empowerment through the creation and strengthening of craft associations and agricultural cooperatives. Camilla Carbini has participated in a conference on the role of women in post-conflict organized, among others, by the Spanish Cooperation, and has carried on an activity with the women of the project, enhancing the content and expertise made available by the Women’s Committee of Confcooperative.
2. AGRICOOP VALLE
Carlos Acero, president of Confecoop Colombia (strategic ally of Coopermondo in the country), participated to a successful day of exchanging experiences and strategic planning with farmers and aquaculture of the Valle del Cauca region at Buga. In addition, Coopermondo’s experts were able to visit a farm and an association of women who produce medicinal plants and herbs.
3. AGRICOOP SAN ANDRES
In the archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia a continuous brain storming has characterized the activities of the experts.
Graziano Molon has been able to assess the tourism sector through an analysis of the local offer in terms of attractions, transport and accommodation. The phenomenon of “Posaderas”, native women who provide rooms within their own houses to accommodate tourists and allow them to live a 100% native experience, was also studied.
Alessandra Nasti has worked with the local fishermen to observe the artesanal fishing methods that are used inside the reef and gave them some options for the development of fishing tourism.
In the lush, green island, where, however, over 80% of the food consumed is imported, Giovanni Pausini has got to analyze possible systems of hydroponics and aquaponics and agricultural development on the island to lighten the weight of imports in terms of food safety and security.
The whole mission has experienced moments of intense emotion when on Tuesday, September 27 the President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, signed the final peace agreement with the FARC leader in Cartegena: it was an historical event which was possible to attend live together to the project partners. In an atmosphere of optimism for a lasting peace, the victory of the NO in the referendum has displaced Colombians partners and Coopermondo’s team, however, they will all continue to work to bring peace to Colombia and to give support to the people with whom they have already started working.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”5303,5308,5313,5323,5328,5333,5338,5363,5358,5373,5378,5383,5388,5428,5448,5453,5493,5498,5503,5508,5513,5518,5523,5528,5533,5478″ title=”Foto della Missione”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Colombia, Peace agreement signed between the government and FARC

Europe woke up sad for the decision of the British people to leave the EU (Brexit), while across the ocean, in Colombia, people are celebrating a happy and historic day. After more than three years of negotiations, with alternating phases of tension and guerrillas and moments of great enthusiasm and hopes, the Colombian government and the FARC (Colombian Revolutionary forces born in the sixties of the last century) have reached a final peace agreement.
Peace talks were conducted in La Havana and the two parties’ representatives have decided to “outlaw” the use of weapons in the exercise of politics in Colombia. The main objective of the agreement is to give primacy to the “values of democracy, the free exchange of ideas and civilized debate in which there is no room for intolerance and persecution for political reasons”.
The parties have agreed to several compromises, including the commitment by the FARC to hand over all weapons within 180 days of signing the Final Agreement.
The process will be supervised by the United Nations with guarantees for both the government and the FARC. And the UN itself will be handed over all the weapons to be devoted to the construction of three monuments.
“It is a historic moment that Coopermondo is glad to celebrate with all the Colombian public and private partners with which it has the honor of working with for over five years”, says Director Danilo Salerno.
Download the full text of the agreement (in Spanish).