Colombia is ill-equipped to absorb the 1000s of guerrilla fighters likely to disarm and return to civilian life in the near future. The GOC job training and judicial processes, while necessary, fail to address the deep emotional and spiritual wounds that linger, nurturing resentment, social rejection and retribution. Prior experience demonstrates the importance of reconciliation in reducing the numbers of ex-combatants who drift back into armed groups - the greatest threat to future stability.
Female and spiritual leaders are relatively trusted as sources of positive values in Colombian culture, providing the ideal bridge between the GOC and communities, and between former fighters and victims of violence. Building their capacity to form a network with pluralist influence, to articulate shared values, and to facilitate delicate people-to-people reconciliation processes will greatly increase receptivity in conflict-impacted communities to rebuilding relationships with former fighters.
Enduring, pluralist networks capitalizing on the synergy of trust and values within women's leadership and spiritual communities will: 1) measurably strengthen reintegration programs & 2) enhance the response to future crises. The ICRD-GOC partnership will allow programs to be brought to scale and to be replicated elsewhere. Finally, public collaboration between victims of violence and ex-combatants will also provide a much-needed model of restored relationships.
This project has provided additional documentation in a DOCX file (projdoc.docx).