Empresa Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca

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Public Statement 2016

Cooperative
Title Organizational Strengthening for the Construction of Collective Peace-building in the Department of Cauca
Type of organization
Country Colombia
Duration  One year
IAF Funding   $50,000
Counterpart Committed $25,898
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries
Direct: 8,400

Primary program areas Education/training

Organization
The Empresa Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca (COSURCA) is a farming producers' federation comprising 18 coffee and fruit producer organizations representing approximately 2,100 rural families. Founded with legal status in l993 in Popayan in the Cauca region, COSURCA provides its member organizations with technical and financial services to improve the volume and quality of their crops. COSURCA has enabled the small farmers in the southern Cauca region to gain access to the more lucrative markets of Western Europe and the United States. COSURCA is governed by a delegate assembly of two representatives from each of its member associations, which elects an executive director every two years. A professional staff of 11 employees manages operations and implements programs. COSURCA has received funding from the United Nations Economic and Social Development Program, the European Union, and local municipal governments.

Project Description
COSURCA is one of a cohort of IAF Grantees that will support peace-building efforts at the grassroots level. COSURCA will contribute to the historical memory of Colombia’s conflict and begin the process of healing. In order to accomplish this, it will carry out workshops, general assemblies and participatory research which will engage residents in the creation of three community museums. COSURCA will also facilitate communication among member organizations and update its institutional work plan to enhance peace in the region. The project will directly benefit 8,400 people, members of 18 member organizations.

Rationale for Funding
Grassroots organizations and nongovernmental organizations have an important role in building peace in Colombia. As Colombians begin to imagine a future without conflict, these organizations and their members must have their voices and proposals heard. To do this, they must have tools and spaces for learning and sharing, in this way building trust and relationships of mutual support among each other and with other actors in the country.

Learning Opportunity
This grant adds to a cohort of projects that support peace-building efforts at the grassroots level. The grant will give IAF the opportunity to learn about how building trust and relationships of mutual support between grantee partners and other actors in the country can be a first step towards national reconciliation. These grants will also help the Foundation to learn how to more effectively respond at scale to challenging opportunities such as the peace process in Colombia.