Economic integration of internally displaced people and host communities

Project description

Project title: Economic integration of internally displaced people and host communities in Norte de Santander, Colombia – PROINTEGRA
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Colombia
Lead executing agency: Colombian Presidential Agency of International Cooperation
Overall term: 2015 to 2022

Colombia. Displaced people from rural areas have settled on the periphery of the city of Cúcuta. © Mision Cúcuta Scalabriniana / GIZ

Context

For more than five decades, Colombia was gripped by armed conflict. The peace accord signed in 2016 between the guerrilla organisation FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and the Colombian Government has not brought peace to the country because not all guerrilla organisa-tions in Colombia acknowledge the accord.

The root causes of the conflict persist, including land disputes, inadequate access to natural resources and the abuse of human rights, and these have taken the lives of at least 220,000 people. Around one million have been victims of murder, abduction, enforced disappearances, torture and rape.

More than seven million Colombians have been displaced within their own country. Robbed of their livelihoods, they have settled on the outskirts of large cities. Most of these slum areas have little, if any, access to public utilities.

Only few of those affected receive adequate psychosocial support to help them cope with traumatic experiences. Many of the displaced persons get by as street vendors or find casual employment on the informal labour market.
They often lack the necessary self-confidence to embark upon a new career, and very few are able to access start-up capital to set up microenterprises. The Colombian Government is therefore working to enable internally displaced people and other disadvantaged groups to access regular employment as part of the peace process.

Objective

Internally displaced people (IDPs) and host communities overcome social and economic obstacles and improve their employment opportunities.

Approach

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports governmental and non-governmental Colombian partners in gearing their provision more effectively towards IDPs. They work together to review existing psychosocial support programmes, develop provision to promote small-scale entrepreneurs, and support both returnees and local people in expanding agricultural pro-duction.

In addition, the PROINTEGRA project is supporting the city administration of Cúcuta and IDPs in gain-ing recognition for occupied estates as official districts. This makes it easier for the city to improve access to basic services.

The coronavirus pandemic has imposed significant restrictions on the economic activities of small-scale entrepreneurs. Many have been ordered by the Government to close their businesses. To alleviate the worst impact, PROINTEGRA has supported more than 800 affected families with a cash transfer.

Results

  • The project has supported more than 5,500 people affected by the conflict in overcoming psychosocial stress.
  • It has trained almost 200 employees of governmental and non-governmental organisations that have direct contact with conflict victims in methods of initial psychological assistance and mental resilience.
  • It has advised 19 smallholder organisations comprising over 1,000 families on improving and marketing their agricultural production.
  • It has advised 275 internally displaced persons on starting up and managing their microenterprises.
  • It has provided 840 internally displaced persons with initial and continuing occupational training.
  • It has helped around 700 internally displaced persons gain formal employment through advisory and placement services.
  • It has integrated 10 informal settlements with a population of 10,000 people into the city of Cúcuta, laying the founda-tions for access to improved basic services.

Latest update: October 2020