The Peaceful and Productive Atrato Activity will help the Greater Community Council of the Atrato River (COCOMACIA) develop and update its internal strategic planning tools, improve its community radio station, and foster citizen engagement in peacebuilding. COCOMACIA is one of the largest Afro-Colombian community councils in Colombia, representing 45,000 Afro-Colombians in Chocó and Antioquia. Although COCOMACIA advocates for communities’ rights and manages social, economic, and environmental affairs in its collective territory, its ability to self-govern its territory has been impacted by decades of armed conflict. The Peaceful and Productive Atrato Activity is implemented in Quibdó, Atrato, Medio Atrato, Bojayá and Carmen del Darién in Chocó and Murindó, Vigía del Fuerte and Urrao in Antioquia. The activity runs from July 2020 – September 2022. It is one of USAID/Colombia’s first ever activities directly implemented by an Afro-Colombian or indigenous organization.
UPDATING GOVERNANCE AND STRATEGIC PLANNING TOOLS
The Peaceful and Productive Atrato Activity updates and develops internal planning and regulatory tools for COCOMACIA’s central body and its 124 local community councils. These instruments enable community councils to self-govern effectively and to establish guidelines for engagement in their territories. Tools developed by this activity include an ethnic development plan, an environmental and land management plan, a gender policy and a strategic plan.
INCREASING AWARENESS OF PEACEBUILDING
The Peaceful and Productive Atrato Activity will train COCOMACIA’s members on the Peace Accord and the region’s Development Plan with a Regional and Ethnic Focus (PDET). Training will target women and youth and will ensure local community members have the knowledge to more actively participate in local peacebuilding and to advocate for their rights.
IMPROVING COCOMACIA’S COMMUNITY RADIO STATION
The Peaceful and Productive Atrato Activity supports COCOMACIA’s use of its community radio station, called COCOMACIA Stereo, to share information with remote communities, including warnings about natural disasters and emergencies. The activity provides radio equipment to expand COCOMACIA Stereo’s signal to the entire collective territory and trains radio station personnel to manage equipment and produce high quality content.
STRENGTHENING COCOMACIA’S CAPACITY
The Peaceful and Productive Atrato Activity strengthens COCOMACIA’s internal administrative and procedural capacities. The activity also trains COCOMACIA staff and the board of directors to ensure new and updated policies and manuals are internalized and implemented.
- Train 520 Afro-Colombians on peacebuilding and the Peace Accord;
- Assist COCOMACIA in updating its strategic planning and governance tools;
- Expand COCOMACIA’s radio station’s signal to reach remote communities along the Atrato River;
- Support COCOMACIA’s 124 local community councils in updating their internal governing regulations; and
- Strengthen COCOMACIA’s organizational and administrative capacities to foster its ability to continue defending the rights of Afro-Colombians.
Neliño Rentería Ramírez