One Earth Future

Prosperity and employment in the Colombian-Venezuelan border

Lead Organization

One Earth Future

Broomfield, Colorado, United States

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

In recent years, Colombia has received 1.4 million immigrants from Venezuela, part of a migration crisis in the continent. The country’s immigration policy has become an example throughout the world, as it provides access to healthcare, education, and counseling, among other services.However, job creation, which is fundamental to ensuring long-term, sustainable integration, is only being developed for highly skilled immigrant workers living in major cities. Meanwhile, over 400,000 Venezuelans concentrated along the border only have a 20 percent chance of finding a job.The program will develop large scale agricultural productive projects to serve the migratory work force coming from Venezuela, empowering thousands to move beyond a refugee paradigm. This process will provide income, food, training, collective organization, and assistance for children and vulnerable pregnant women. In the long term, the project seeks to reactivate the economy along the Colombian–Venezuelan border to create systemic resilience to potential crises.

Problem Statement

Of the 1.4 million Venezuelan immigrants who have arrived in Colombia in the last two years, approximately 80 percent are men and women between the ages of 21 and 40, who are at full working age and need to find jobs. Addressing this need successfully has been elusive. On the one hand, Venezuelan immigrants arrive in extremely precarious conditions that affect their employability. Additionally, policies have focused on providing humanitarian attention, rather than ensuring long-term integration.Considering that upwards of 80% of Venezuelan migrants plan on staying in Colombia, the country’s institutions and citizens struggle to provide economic opportunities for a continuous flow of migrants seeking a better life. This is particularly acute in the areas along the border, where towns and cities already mired in social and economic duress welcome a seemingly never ending stream of migrants. The need here is a coordination of a wide range of efforts on behalf of a diverse set of actors focused on transforming the problem of migration into an opportunity. This is actually possible in a region of the world that has abundant available fertile land ready for productivity and development. While short-term relief for migrants is vital, changing the dynamics along the border in ways that result in increased food security, income generation, and social stability, addresses the migration crisis through a long-term solution that results in a net gain for all involved and prevents the overloads on the receiving country which can sometimes lead to failures, strife, and despair.

Solution Overview

This program will empower 24,000 low-skilled Venezuelan men and women who are have embarked on a migration to Colombia in response to crisis by providing access to profitable and environmentally sustainable productive projects along the Colombian – Venezuelan border. Immigrants will participate in food production programs and short-term projects in exchange for wages, while product sales will be used to additionally support their income. PASO and its partners will achieve this goal through its Rural Alternative School (ERAs) model, which promotes capital injection, knowledge, and connection with markets through collaborative and coordinated systems between public, social, and private sectors. With presence in 16 areas of the country, ERAs currently have consolidated their ability to generate social and productive partnerships that influence production dynamics in the areas, encourages economic growth, and transforms the way in which peasant economies work. The expected impact is organized in the following sequence:Year 1: at least 6,000 Venezuelan men and women integrated into the food production and cultivation programs established in the region; Year 2: 6,000 additional Venezuelan immigrants participating in agroforestry production programs, short-term crops, and income generating activities; Years 3 and 4: replication of the model across the border to generate 12,000 additional jobs for Venezuelans.Year 5: economic consolidation of the Colombian – Venezuelan border as an area of binational prosperity.

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Project Funders

  • Government of Colombia - Agency of Territorial Renovation 2020 - 2022
  • Aid Live

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