Constructing peace, one undertaking at a time in Colombia

A pot boils on a wooden hearth within the open air at a relaxation spot within the Serranía del Perijá, within the mountainous rural north of Colombia. Greater than 100 folks, together with former combatants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia insurgent group often known as FARC, their households, and native folks in addition to troopers of the Colombian Nationwide Military, work collectively on the sting of a precipice.

They’re carrying three-inch-diameter hoses over practically 9 kilometers of steep terrain as a part of a UN Meals and Agriculture Group (FAO)-supported undertaking to enhance water provides.

It took months of arduous work to elevate the hose, set it in place, bury it and join it to an area river which gives a dependable provide of water.

Essentially the most lovely factor I keep in mind was the way in which the military, our former adversary, neighborhood, former rebels and native authorities labored collectively, whatever the previous that separated us,” says Yarledys Olaya, an indigenous Barí lady, who spent 20 years preventing for the now disbanded FARC insurgent group.

FARC guerillas waged  a half century-long civil warfare in opposition to the Colombian authorities, which formally ended with the signing of a historic Final Peace Agreement in 2016. 

Yarledys Olaya (left) works alongside other former combatants and local people to laya water pipe.

Marcos Guevara

Yarledys Olaya (left) works alongside different former combatants and native folks to laya water pipe.

A brand new life in a nice land

Yarledys Olaya is one in all some 13,000 ex-combatants who dedicated to peace in Colombia and who started new lives in locations like Tierra Grata.

“I image my future right here; I image myself rising outdated,” she says. “This course of has not been straightforward. Up to now we noticed our comrades get killed. However personally, it has allowed me to begin my household, to have the ability to spend time with them, and to open my house to my daughters.

That’s the reason we need to proceed constructing and betting on peace. Not just for the rebels who’ve been reintegrated into society however for a collective peace for the nation.”

Within the close by city of San José de Oriente, native folks have been afraid that when the ex-combatants got here to the area, violence would begin once more, however minds have been modified after they introduced simply peace and a willingness to work on neighborhood initiatives.

Yarledys Olaya arrived in Tierra Grata in November 2016 aboard a truck along with 120 different guerrillas, most of them armed. She was carrying a camouflage uniform, boots, a black T-shirt, and carried a backpack and a rifle on her shoulder; she lined her face with a inexperienced scarf not eager to be recognized.

“There was numerous distrust. I felt that we have been reserved, surly, and that native folks checked out us in a different way.” It was two months earlier than, the Peace Settlement between the federal government and the FARC had been signed.

“This was not a private choice, it was a collective choice,” she says. “I believed, let’s proceed however stay life in one other manner. The nice factor is that I had now not needed to see my comrades fall, which is regular throughout a warfare.”

Monitoring the ceasefire

It was an remoted location; an outdated farmhouse stood beside dense vegetation, together with the native frailejones plant. A bit of land had been cleared to make room to construct a reintegration camp; throughout, there have been Military and Colombian police personnel.

Yarledys Olaya addresses the Tierra Grata Community Action Board of which she is president.

Yarledys Olaya addresses the Tierra Grata Neighborhood Motion Board of which she is president. , by Marcos Guevara

In a close-by space, the United Nations had erected tents the place specialists who had monitored the ceasefire would confirm the laying down of arms. Between March and September 2017, the UN mission in Colombia obtained 8,994 weapons from FARC all through the nation together with Tierra Grata.

Six months have been spent constructing the camp which offered 158 dwelling quarters. The ex-combatants have been alleged to bear a reintegration course of there after which depart for a extra everlasting location, however most of them had nowhere to go and so stayed.

Daughters from warfare, and peace

At present, Tierra Grata is a formalized village inhabited by some 300 folks, each ex-combatants and members of the family. Some have been born there, and others joined their households.

Yarledys Olaya left her new child, Yacana, with a relative when she joined FARC and was reunited two months after arriving in Tierra Grata. Two years later she gave start to a different daughter, Yaquelín, one in all 65 youngsters, born within the new settlement.

“Yacana is my daughter from the warfare, and Yaquelín my daughter from peace,” she says.

Yarledys Olaya continues to work on neighborhood initiatives, constructing everlasting buildings and bringing water and electrical energy to the village. “As ladies through the warfare, we performed a basic position,” she says, “and now on this new second, we’re serving to to construct peace, as a result of we really feel that this course of is ours; that’s the reason we’re keen to contribute our final drop of sweat to this future.”

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Sturdy Establishments

  • Sustainable Improvement Purpose 16 acknowledges that battle, insecurity, weak establishments and restricted entry to justice stay a big menace to sustainable growth.
  • It goals to cut back all types of violence and deaths brought on by that violence. It focuses on ending the abuse, exploitation, torture and trafficking of youngsters.
  • The UN Verification Mission in Colombia was established by the UN Security Council in 2017 to assist the peace course of in Colombia.
  • It has labored intently with nationwide authorities and former combatants to advertise progress in reintegration and security-related points.


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