Women are more susceptible to the marginalization, poverty and suffering that comes with armed conflict. During more than 50 years of war in Colombia, women endured physical threats, displacement, kidnappings, economic insecurity and high risks of sexual violence. Despite women’s suffering, formal negotiations with guerilla groups largely excluded them as a group. Now that Colombian citizens have an opportunity for peace, women must exercise their rights and participate in the peace process.
Our grantee partner Fundación Hijos de la Sierra Flor is bringing women together. Working with indigenous and Afro-Colombian women’s groups, they create spaces for dialogue, exchanges and recreation. These activities promote reconciliation and offer tools and methodologies for community peace-building initiatives. They recognize ancestral practices for conflict resolution and for rebuilding trust.
This is the sixth video in our series that follows our grantee partners working to build peace in Colombia. In this video, you see participants from one of the women’s groups working with Hijos de la Sierra Flor. Community leader Lina Marquesa Rodriguez expresses the urgency of the project: “The state’s indifference has been huge, so we are the ones who have to keep shouting for attention and make them listen to us.”
The project focuses on the Caribbean region of Colombia where the effects of the conflict have been devastating for communities. The exchanges include women who are former members of guerilla groups and can share their experiences. As Rodriguez explains, “This is what we needed: to hear from women that were part of the conflict and that today they can say that weapons were not the solution.”
Our IAF grantee partners are constructing peace in their territories in Colombia. This is how we support their grassroots efforts as individual organizations and as a system — “un sistema de paz.”