Riohacha, Maicao and Cali, cities benefiting from the Fupad program

Riohacha, Maicao and Cali, cities benefiting from the Fupad program
Riohacha, Maicao and Cali, cities benefiting from the Fupad program

With the aim of addressing the needs of migrants from Venezuela and Colombian host communities, the Pan American Development Foundation, Fupad, in alliance with the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State, has established the program “Integrating Sustainable Horizons”.

In 2024, this program seeks to recognize and exalt their work in society, through the campaign “A valuable task”, in order to dignify the circular economy activities carried out by these #RecuperadoresDeSueños in their work of generating new opportunities for discarded materials, as a measure of environmental protection.

According to data from Migración Colombia, more than 2.8 million Venezuelans reside in the country, of which around 488,000 are in an irregular migration situation. This has led many of them to engage in informal jobs.

Furthermore, according to information from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, it is estimated that there are around 37,000 recyclers, of which a significant percentage are Venezuelan citizens, who also face difficult living conditions. This context has generated social concern, which has motivated the creation of this project.

The objective of this program focuses on promoting socioeconomic integration between Venezuelan migrants and local communities by strengthening the circular economy, thus contributing to sustainable development.

The key cities for this first phase are Maicao, Riohacha and Cali, According to FUPAD research, around 247,000 Venezuelan migrants are located in these territories under vulnerable conditions, so the campaign focuses on empowering the “recyclers” or “Dream Retrievers” by facilitating their access to protection, basic rights and opportunities for human development, as well as generating jobs that strengthen this value chain.

At the national level, there are more than 1,000 public service providers that carry out recycling activities, including 962 associations of recyclable solid waste collectors. Of these, 40 are located in Cali, where there are 4,994 people working in this task; 3 in Riohacha with 800 recycling workers, and 3 in Maicao with 400.

Since the start of the pilot plan in September 2023, to date, the program “Integrating Sustainable Horizons” has achieved the following progress:

  • Strengthening of 4 recycling associations.
  • Implementation of communication campaigns that have impacted 4,434 people, promoting the inclusion of recyclers as Agents of Change.
  • Participation of 276 people in social cohesion activities, promoting integration and sustainable development in the communities.
  • Psychosocial support for 1,000 families, legal advice for 1,136 and multipurpose CVA benefits for 769 families.
  • Support for 343 young people in risk mitigation.
  • Delivery of 60 water tanks and 250 water filters to 310 families.

These spaces have addressed issues such as environmental protection, efficient solid waste management and awareness about climate change. As part of strengthening these communities, knowledge about the fight against child labor, respect for human rights and the prevention of gender violence is also addressed.

“This program is crucial to improve the living conditions of the migrant population from Venezuela and the host communities, integrating them into a circular economy that benefits the environment and promotes human and social development, creating a safe and clean environment. While some see recycling as a means of survival, others build a life project through it, valuing the praiseworthy work they do,” Explain Jorge Gabriel Pinzón, program manager.

The bell “A valuable task”, It is designed to continue working to guarantee the protection of rights and promote sustainable human development, with the vision of transforming the way in which the community views recycling and how to positively dignify the lives of thousands of people who carry out this activity in Colombia.

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