Strengthening Economic, Social and Environmental Impact for Peacebuilding

A group of 8 people discuss farming practices in a lush green garden setting.

Financial and ecological sustainability are key challenges to Colombia’s development, especially given the urgency of climate change and the unfolding of Colombia’s peace process. These factors underpin the partnership between students in Regenerating Ecologies and Economies for Livelihoods (REEL) and One Earth Future's PASO Colombia. This report is the product of our team’s collaboration with COOMPAZCOL, a co-operative of demobilized ex-FARC combatants, to strengthen its economic, social and environmental impact.

The REEL team brings our professional backgrounds and skill sets, we have also learned from and been enriched by our engagement with PASO Colombia and COOMPAZCOL.

The REEL team met regularly with COOMPAZCOL partners and in March traveled to Conejo, La Guajira, Colombia to learn more about COOMPAZCOL’s activities and the wider context. We met with the Board of COOMPAZCOL, and the leaders of the productive units to learn more about the businesses, and their challenges and hopes. We were inspired by COOMPAZCOL, and their vision of a more economically just and peaceful future.

We picked up on the recurring themes of interdependence and shared prosperity, and have also been guided by COOMPAZCOL’s principles:

A. Financial Sustainability

B. Dignity & Recognition

C. Collectiveness

D. Communication

E. Intergenerational Exchange

F. Solidarity & Benefit Sharing.

Based on our research and fieldwork, and guided by COOMPZCOL’s principles, these are four recommendations the team put forward:

1. Expand the Agricultural Store

  • Sell COOMPAZCOL products and community member products

  • Put the backroom to use

2. Improve and scale up manure-to fertilizer production

  • Create more fertilizer with a scaled up and cost-effective composting method

  • Use the fertilizer to increase site outputs at DameVerde, livestock and chicken/eggs units

  • Sell fertilizer beyond COOMPAZCOL via a sales/marketing specialist and at the Agstore

  • Receive training on our fertilizer financial model

3. Hire a marketing and sales coordinator to oversee sales and marketing activities of productive units and product lines, including chicken/eggs, dairy, cattle, and textiles

4. Tell COOMPAZCOL’s Story by developing and implementing a strategic communication plan that highlights themes of peace and reintegration, regeneration, and solidarity