Colectivo de Trabajo Jenzera (Bogota, Colombia)
Updates on our work January-June 2014.
We are very happy to report on the activities that have kept us busy this year. Thanks to generous individual donations and our own efforts to secure funding from Colombian sources we have been able to support some of our old projects, develop new ones and venture into new parts of Colombia.
Tinjaca anti-fracking movement: Tinjacá Environmentalist and Sustainable Development Working Group
Jenzera supported and organic agriculture project in Tinjaca, Boyaca. Worried about the possibility of fracking and oil exploration in their lands, this group of peasant producers supported Jenzera’s creation of an environmental group to prepare people to participate, get informed and demand answers from company and government representatives. Jenzera helped organize in February of 2014 the first meeting on fracking. The meeting achieved four goals, first an introduction to the fracking business based on information from other places. Second, the participation of civil society and other government actors, and third the organization of a delegation to a national meeting on fracking that was held in Villa de Leyva in April 2014. Finally, local citizens are circulating a “Citizen Manifesto against Fracking in the region.” In this way, local authorities and company officials are now aware that there is citizen concern about their operations and that these concerns will need to be addressed.
We spent resources bringing legal, environmental and technical experts who could instruct locals on the fracking business.
Naya Women’s Interethnic Silviculture and Organic Agriculture Project
Jenzera has supported this women’s project to improve food security and conservation in the Naya river (which ends in the mangroves and waters of the Pacific Ocean), for the past 7 years. The Naya is a multiethnic river historically shared by Afro-Colombian and Eperara-Siapidaara indigenous groups. Both groups own collective lands. The project has helped overcome divisions that often kept indigenous and Afro-Colombian women sharing the same territories from collaborating in interethnic projects that would support both communities. Their organization is stronger now and so is their commitment to inter-cultural women’s work and solutions to local conflicts driven by cultural cleavages. They have served as example when other local leaders and organizations fail to come together in inter-cultural dialogues to solve shared problems. Despite hard conditions on the ground—the Naya has been at the center of violent incursions by FARC and paramilitary groups—and the fact that the women’s crops were fumigated a number of times by Colombia’s anti-narcotics police, women have maintained their work.
Interethnic School with Embera Katio and Embera Chamí Communities
Jenzera continues to offer support in the Embera communities of Alto San Jorge, Atrato Medio, and Karmata Rua. Jenzera has designed specific training and support strategies in these three places. In the Alto San Jorge (Cordoba), Jenzera has supported the local governance efforts of traditional authorities from this community that was displaced 20 years ago by a hydroelectricity project. In Atrato Medio (Antioquia and Choco) Jenzera facilitated training and information workshops to support this community’s local organization efforts. Following Jenzera’s methodology of field visits and contact between different ethnic groups, the project included a visit to Florida (Valle) to a Nasa community that has organized a successful government project. In Karmata Rua (Antioquia) Jenzera will collaborate with Embera authorities to support a land reclamation project, involving the resettlement of Embera ancestral territory which had been taken by peasants.
Cumaribo, Vichada, Land Conflict
In June 2014, Jenzera made part of a delegation to research and report a current land crisis pitting various indigenous communities in Colombia’s Orinoco basin against local governments and oil companies. This report was commissioned by Colombia’s Consultative Group on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES).
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