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Community / Land projects / Women Advocate for Peace (Women, Peace and Security in Colombia)

Women Advocate for Peace (Women, Peace and Security in Colombia)


01/21 - 12/25


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This programme has been elaborated by a consortium consisting of three Colombian organizations—Ruta Pacífica de la Mujeres, Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad (LIMPAL) and Corporación de Apoyo a Comunidades Populares (CODACOP)— and two Dutch ones—ICCO and HealthNet TPO—. By letter of 29 May 2020, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) informed the consortium that its proposal has been selected for a strategic partnership within the scope of the grant instrument Women, Peace and Security. In its letter of 30 June 2020, MoFA informed the consortium that the maximum grant is EUR 4.989.660 for the period 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2025. This amount will be provided under the condition that: 1. In the strategic partnership a programme will be established in consultation with the consortium partners, local partners, and the MoFA; 2. The programme satisfies sufficiently the qualitative criteria for the programme proposal set by the MoFA; and 3. This programme underpins this amount. Below we present the full proposal for the programme which has been developed collaboratively by all consortium members. Local organizations in the 6 target departments as well as the MoFA and the Dutch Embassy in Bogotá were consulted. Annex I Table of fulfilment with the requirements established by the MoFA, detailing how the programme addresses each of the criteria of the MoFA.


The strategic objective of Women Advocate for Peace is to contribute to a lasting peace process with gender justice in Colombia in which women and girls have the same rights and opportunities as men and boys. This requires the creation of favourable conditions to strengthen the participation, influence, and leadership of women and their organizations in peacebuilding spaces at the local, territorial, and national levels. Our Theory of Change describes three mutually interrelated thematic pillars/ result areas: 1. Peace process; 2. Accompaniment and protection; and 3. Women’s empowerment. These are aligned with all three sub-objectives of the WPS grant instrument. The fulfilment of the gender indicators established by the Peace Accord will influence the application and adoption of gender-based measures to protect women, including psychosocial attention. Compliance with the gender measures established by the Peace Accord is a determining factor for a sustainable and inclusive peace process. By accompanying women and their organizations, they will become stronger, increase their resilience, and be able to participate in political spaces to ensure the application and monitoring of the current laws governing gender (including the WPS agenda and SDG-5) at the national as well as departmental and municipal levels. Finally, encouraging their economic autonomy and a more equitable redistribution of chores in the family context will facilitate their empowerment, the development of their political role, and their fundamental contribution to development and peace in Colombia. Our ToC is guided by a series of general assumptions: ● There is stability and space for CSOs to function; ● The CSOs meet the minimal requirements for increasing mobilization and taking advantage of existing strengths; ● The government and state institutions are willing to cooperate; ● Raising awareness about positive masculinities leads to changes in behaviour; ● Once women are trained in advocacy they will assume leadership roles; ● The participation of women and civil society organizations in decision-making spaces influences the decisions of stakeholders; ● Women’s proposals at the local level are crucial to influence those in charge of developing policies, with the objective of improving access to services and creating policies that take gender-related issues into account; ● Change agents within communities can play a crucial role in changing unequal power relations.

Target Groups

Result Area 1: Peace process The peace process has several mechanisms and spaces created at the territorial level to facilitate its implementation. The Peace Accord can only be implemented and contribute to the sustainable development of territories when considering the needs, demands, and proposals of solutions from women and their organizations. By training women and women’s organizations, they will be able to do Lobbying and Advocacy (L&A) in order for them to participate in decision-making and achieve the acceptance of their proposals by policy- makers. This will contribute to strengthening the mechanisms created for the institutionalization of peace with gender justice in order for the State to comply with the 51 gender indicators set out in the Peace Accord. Result Area 2: Accompaniment and Protection The internal armed conflict exacerbated unequal gender relations, racism and violence against women and girls. Survivors often have profound psychological, physical and emotional damage without the State, society and communities being aware of the magnitude of the problem and being able to help eradicate GBV. Against this background we support women human rights defenders and their organizations, who find themselves isolated and unprotected in the face of attacks by different armed actors, to strategize and start participating in relevant decision-making spaces where they can influence the State to implement laws and regulations related to violence against women and carry out effective measures against GBV in the territories, including access to survivor-centred care. Service Delivery Component: GBV survivors have limited access to care services to deal with the psychosocial consequences of the conflict. When authorities implement legislation for protecting GBV survivors and women, and offer appropriate services, women are less vulnerable to psychosocial harm and can participate more actively in social and political life. Provision of psychosocial support will take place through the establishment of peer-to-peer support groups (cf. IASC Reference Group on MHPSS). Stakeholders and community gatekeepers will be sensitized to promote and build inclusive community-based MHPSS support the evidence collected from the interventions will build the basis to support mechanisms that promote gender and social inclusion. Result Area 3: Women’s empowerment In order to lift local women out of poverty and unequal power relations, both in their family and within their communities, we will train them in sustainable livelihoods, while at the same time raise awareness in their families on positive masculinities. Ensuring a sustainable livelihood within a supportive family environment where care work is equitably distributed will enable women to claim their rights, such as land rights and the right to participate in community life. Through sustained advocacy, women will be recognized as key political actors within their territories. Our ToC intervenes directly in complex and diverse civic spaces in which a wide range of actors operate which are directly linked (either positively or negatively) to the development and change processes to which we aspire to contribute. Annex VII details the actors with whom the Programme will interact, using the classification established by the MoFA: public sector institutions, knowledge institutions, NGOs, thought leaders, and clients/citizens. We have added a new category to be able to include bilateral and multilateral entities, such as the European Union or the United Nations system. The most important actors are the women and their organizations in the six target departments. 4.1. Women in the Programme areas In the adverse contexts of the territories where the Programme will work, women have become more organized and have consolidated their organizations as key actors in the peace process and the defence of human rights (mainly women’s and victims’ rights). They are leading processes for children’s education in the communities, capacity development and training of women, and fundraising for emergency situations and for productive projects. The women’s movement in these departments, as in the rest of the country, is a broad and diverse movement in which collectives of young women, LGBTQI+ individuals, and disability organizations come together to fight for the inclusion of their demands in the broader agenda of the inclusive women’s movement. In their role as leaders, many of these women have suffered socio-political and sociodemographic violence. The overwhelming majority have been victims of GBV and of violence as a consequence of the armed conflict. They demand increased governmental attention, primarily through their organizations and social movements for peace. Organized women see themselves more and more affirmed as political heavyweights. They are organizing actions and demanding that their rights be respected even in the midst of the conflict. They also continue to call for guarantees for their full participation in all the decisions relating to women’s development and peace. As part of their responsibilities as leaders, the women from the six departments deal with public institutions through spaces and mechanisms such as working groups where the government and civil society participate to monitor public policies and laws. They also participate in the state agencies in charge of implementing the Peace Accord, such as municipal councils, peace departments, and planning councils. The women in the six regions where the Programme will work share the following characteristics: ● The majority is from rural areas (approximately 60%) though a significant percentage of them live in urban areas (approximately 40%). Most of them are the primary household earners with substantial domestic and care work responsibilities besides their activism and leadership work. Many of them live in a domestic partnership without marriage. This is a vulnerability factor because of the often-low stability of these relationships, leaving women to take responsibility for the household income and childcare alone. Many of the women have limited access to knowledge and technology, work options, political participation, recreation, and possibilities of expression. ● The age range is very broad, with women from eighteen to eighty years. They mostly have a low level of formal education although there are also some that graduated high school and continued to college. Most of the women have informal jobs or work in the fields, and there is a tendency to focus on productive projects to address their precarious economic situation. A significant percentage of women are artisans. ● They are generally religious, mostly Catholic or Evangelical Christian. For many women religion allows them to process the physical, mental, and emotional effects of the armed conflict; it is where they find refuge, given the lack of psychosocial attention provided by the government. In the case of indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, their own autochthonous worldviews prevail. ● All the regions are ethnically diverse, with the presence of Afro-Colombian, indigenous, and mestiza populations.18 Indigenous and Afro-descendent women suffer triple discrimination for being women, impoverished, and indigenous. They are also the population group that is most affected by the structural violence in the country. In departments with relatively large indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations, such as Bolívar and La Guajira, women are victims of forced displacement, many have been victims of sexual violence, and they are organized into collectives for the defence of their land, human rights, and economic autonomy. ● As indicated in the section on COVID-19, the economic situation in these areas is serious, as the public health crisis has exacerbated structural inequalities, especially those affecting women and girls. Obligatory isolation has been imposed on families living in precarious conditions, both in more populated and rural areas, where most of the population earns a living from the informal economy, with high and rising levels of inequality. Because of their precarious situation, the women have to leave the house in search of their daily sustenance in spite of the quarantine measures decreed by the government, endangering their health.

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