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Evidence Report: Project Maria Caicedo

Development of inclusive markets to build peace in Colombia. The case of the Peasant Reserve Zones of the Cimitarra River Valley, Catatumbo and Tulua.

Informe de evidencia: Proyecto María Caicedo

Desarrollo de mercados inclusivos para construir paz en Colombia. El caso de las Zonas de Reserva Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra, Catatumbo y Tuluá

Desarollo de mercados inclusivos para construir paz en Colombia

Colombia es el mayor productor de hoja de coca del mundo. Desde el 2000, Estados Unidos ha asignado 10.000 millones de dólares en un intento por detener su producción, y se han fumigado más de 1,6 millones de hectáreas en un intento por erradicar las plantaciones de coca. Sin embargo, la superficie cultivada en el país ha aumentado en un promedio de 45% por año - con 177.000 hectáreas en 2017 que se utilizan para el cultivo de coca. Como es evidente, la lucha contra las drogas ha fracasado. Trabajando en las Zonas de Reserva Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra, Catatumbo y Tuluá, el Proyecto María Caicedo trabaja para la transformación de las economías de guerra en economías de paz. El proyecto se diseñó para captar la voz de los que quedaron atrás (a través de los años de conflicto en Colombia, y por los esfuerzos subsiguientes para traer la paz) y se involucraron en las economías ilegales en la Colombia rural. Esta investigación proporcionó elementos clave para contribuir a la construcción de paz en Colombia a través de la transformación de las economías de guerra en economías de paz en las Zonas de Reserva Campesina (ZRC). Adoptamos un enfoque sistémico, que involucra los sistemas políticos y económicos a nivel local y nacional, buscando dar a las personas más marginadas una voz y, en última instancia, poder para salir de la pobreza. Estos informes, tanto en inglés como en español, muestran los resultados de nuestra investigación y cómo Colombia puede avanzar hacia economías de paz. Este reporte muestra un resumen de los resultados del Proyecto. Para leer el reporte completo, haga clic aquí. 

Development of Inclusive Markets to Build Peace in Colombia

Colombia is the largest producer of coca leaf in the world. Since 2000, United States has allocated USD 10 billion in an attempt to stop its production, with more than 1.6 million hectares being sprayed in an attempt to eradicate coca plantations. But the cultivated area in the country has increased by an average of 45% per year – with 177,000 hectares in 2017 being used for growing coca. As is evident, the fight against drugs has failed. Working in the Peasant Reserve Zones of the Cimitarra River Valley, Catatumbo and Tuluá, Project Maria Caicedo works towards the transformation of war economies into peace economies. The project was designed to capture the voice of those left behind (through the years of conflict in Colombia, and by the subsequent efforts to bring peace) and involved in illegal economies in the rural Colombia. This research provided key building blocks in the foundation of peace in Colombia through the transformation of war economies to peace economies in Peasant Reserve Areas (ZRC, by its acronym in Spanish). We  took a systemic approach, which involved the political and economic systems at the local and national levels, seeking to give the most marginalised people a voice and ultimately power to emerge from poverty. This report gives a summary of the project's findings. For the full report, click here.

Balancing research and practice in an international NGO

REL Practice Paper 1 Ten Years of Change is a collaborative, long-term practitioner research initiative designed to take place in three countries – Colombia, Kenya and the UK. It is implemented by the Research, Evidence and Learning team at Christian Aid. The research began with the overarching question how are community members and supporters being influenced by, and influencing, processes of social change? Each country team adapted the question to make it relevant to their socio-political context, and designed research at several different levels, from local to national. This paper tells the story of the first three years of Ten Years of Change. It narrates our ideas and ambitions and how we clarified them; how we identified where, by whom and how the study would be implemented; and how we worked with colleagues in other countries to begin to translate our idea into practice. It then discusses the forces that shaped the parallel but distinct evolution of each of the three streams of the study, before reflecting on the challenges of trade-offs and power. It concludes by returning to some of our assumptions about practitioner research, reflecting on how they played out in practice, finally turning to considerations for the next stage of the study.  

Fair and equitable research partnerships case study: Dr Bhavani

Funding for research in international development often includes a focus on fair and equitable partnerships. Academics from the global North are increasingly encouraged by funders to include academic partners based in the global South and civil society practitioners in their research projects. But achieving this is complicated: partnership and research are both political. This case study is one of a set of resources that has been designed to help academics, NGOs, CSOs, research brokers and funders put principles for fair and equitable research partnerships into practice. The case study explores insights from Dr Bhavani RV of the of the M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in India, project manager for Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA), an international research partnership funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) (2012–18). After situating the organisational identity of MSSRF and its involvement as lead agency in the LANSA research programme consortium, Dr Bhavani explores several learning points relating to fair and equitable research partnerships – from negotiation of ethical considerations to adaptation of research approach and consortium governance. Finally, she reflects on ways in which MSSRF has both contributed and benefited from involvement in the LANSA research consortium.  

Fair and equitable research partnerships case study: Tom Kariuki

Funding for research in international development often includes a focus on fair and equitable partnerships. Academics from the global North are increasingly encouraged by funders to include academic partners based in the global South and civil society practitioners in their research projects. But achieving this is complicated: partnership and research are both political. This case study is one of a set of resources that has been designed to help academics, NGOs, CSOs, research brokers and funders put principles for fair and equitable research partnerships into practice. The case study explores insights from Tom Kariuki of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). Tom describes the vision of the AAS and the evolution of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), an agenda-setting and funding platform. He reflects on the impact of shifting the centre of gravity for African science to Africa, issues of trust which limit funders’ interest in devolving fund management to African organisations, and the importance of investing in institutional capacity to enable sustainable research leadership in Africa.

New pathways out of poverty in Africa: sustainable agriculture

A Christian Aid and CAFOD policy paper investigating how agricultural transformation has become a development priority for African governments and the international development community. It is commonly understood as a shift from ‘low’ productivity subsistence agriculture to more commercially-oriented production. This shift is seen as the first step away from the continent’s continued dependence on raw commodity exports, and towards diversified and domestically integrated economies that provide sufficient employment opportunities to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population.   This is to be welcomed. However, this report highlights the risk that agricultural transformation strategies already underway in some African countries could increase inequality and further degrade the environment. To prevent this from happening agriculture transformation strategies need to: integrate actions that will build the resilience of producer households and wider ecosystems to climate and economic shocks, instead of focusing predominantly on increasing the productivity of smallholders link smallholder producers to the wider domestic economy.  CAFOD and Christian Aid programmes that support small agro-enterprise development, climate resilience building and inclusive agricultural market development include deliberate actions to ensure equitable and environmentally sustainable outcomes. To further promote the integration of these principles in the design and implementation of government policies, we have initiated an on-going dialogue with our partner organisations in Africa to determine how agricultural transformation policies in their own countries can contribute to more equitable and sustainable development.

Christian Aid en América Latina y el Caribe estrategia (Spanish)

Hemos trabajado en América Latina y el Caribe por más de 30 años, apoyando a nuestras contrapartes para enfrentar la injusticia, las violaciones a los derechos humanos y la desigualdad.