Where do we come from?
As with all joint work, RICO has been built up little by little, through multiple exchanges between its members, who have formed friendships, trust and, over time, strong bonds of solidarity. Therefore, although RICO acquires its legal status in December 2019 in Germany and in 2021 in Colombia, we cannot reduce its origin to these moments.
Perhaps the first seed of what is now RICO was planted in August 2018, when the collective “Warrior Women of La Sierra” began to articulate with three young Colombians in Germany around the defence of the territory in the face of large-scale coal mining. The first major milestone of this relationship was the La Sierra Cultural Festival, held in homage to two social leaders of the community who had been assassinated a few years earlier: Néstor Martínez and Naimen Lara. From this, as well as from other academic and advocacy events carried out with support from the German international cooperation and the University of Magdalena, we established a collaboration with leaders in La Guajira and other parts of Cesar.
In 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic, more members joined the collective and we initiated relationships with communities in Boyacá, Cesar, La Guajira, Medellín and Tolima in Colombia. We also created a solar energy pedagogy with partners in Venezuela and supported an international collection with several communities in Guatemala. To support each of these processes, we have also strengthened our links with numerous organisations, collectives and even farming communities in Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands, with whom we have held talks, conferences, workshops and solidarity concerts.
We are not “just another NGO working with communities”, on the contrary, we want to open a network in which everyone – communities, collectives, organisations and individuals – are equal members. This is the next natural step in our heterarchical approach: the distribution of leadership and responsibility among all members of our network.
We invite you to be part of this exciting journey!