We support the reconstruction of the social fabric and community sovereignty through the strengthening of associations and the development of food, productive and energy sovereignty initiatives. Our goal is to collaborate in the construction of self-supporting and just communities, where everyone can live in dignity and in relation to their territories.
The Working Group was created in 2020, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, to support the creation of economic alternatives for those who lost their jobs, as well as to facilitate the production of health inputs for the prevention of the virus directly in the territories.
Productive sovereignty and healthcare during Covid-19
Women of Mongui, Boyacá, score against Covid-19
In the Boyacá municipality of Monguí, women have historically been relegated to the domestic sphere, with the exception of the manufacture of leather footballs, for which the municipality is renowned. These women work under constant exposure to noxious fumes and without social security, not to mention that the profit they make per football is negligible. Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic and mobility restrictions, the football factories were forced to close without offering any benefits to their workers. As a result, women reliant on the manufacturing sector were left without economic livelihoods for their families.
In 2020, RICO collaborated with 20 women heads of household who were dedicated to the manufacture of footballs in a productive project for the manufacture of facemasks, taking advantage of the women’s skills in textile manufacture. To achieve this, RICO carried out an international fundraiser, as well as a solidarity concert in Paris, France, which raised around 10,000,000 Colombian pesos (2.500 EUR), enabling the production of 4,400 surgical masks and 75 litres of antibacterial gel that were distributed free of charge throughout the municipality. In addition, the women took an active role in protecting their community, building a gate at the entrance of the municipality and manning it in shifts day and night to ensure that outsiders with symptoms of Covid did not enter the community.
Women produce handsanitizer in Manantialito, La Guajira
Manantialito is an Afro-Campesino community in the municipality of Barrancas, in lower Guajira. A few kilometres from the Cerrejón open-pit coal mine, Manantialito has had to face multiple socio-environmental affectations, from the contamination of water sources and respiratory conditions in children to the effects of paramilitary and gender-based violence. On the occasion of the Covid-19 pandemic, eight women heads of household joined RICO in a project to manufacture handsanitizer, with a generous donation of 9’000,000 Colombian pesos (2.250 EUR) from the Colombia Solidarity Campaign and the Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz-Kolumbien. Support was provided for the production of 400 litres of handsanitizer for distribution in various communities in the area. Eight EKOFIL water filters were also installed to purify the water needed for the production, which were placed in accessible locations for the future domestic consumption of the community.
Life and Peace: Former FARC Combatants work against Covid-19
The Antonio Nariño Territorial Training and Reincorporation Space (ETCR) in Icononzo, Tolima, is perhaps one of the most praised spaces at anational level for its success in reintegrating former combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The local cooperative Tejiendo Paz, together with the Bogota-based enterprise Manifiesta – Hecho en Colombia, has achieved significant success in textile manufacturing, selling its products nationally and even internationally. With the arrival of Covid-19, Tejiendo Paz requested support from RICO to achieve the productive transition towards the production of reusable facemasks.
RICO coordinated a collection that raised around 12’000,000 Colombian pesos (approx. 3,000 EUR) from 162 supporters around the world, resulting in the production of more than 15,000 reusable face masks. Most of the masks were distributed free of charge in Icononzo and surrounding municipalities; 1,000 masks were sent to the Afro community of La Sierra (Chiriguaná, Cesar) and supplies were sent to more than 200 guards of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Tolima, in the municipality of Coyaima. We also linked Tejiendo Paz with the virtual drugstore Botiqui, which allowed the sale of its products throughout the country, thus guaranteeing its economic sustainability.