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Cablegate: S/Wgi Project Proposal - Colombia

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0716/01 0541855
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231853Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3006
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000716

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KWMN KPAO PHUM AID CO
SUBJECT: S/WGI PROJECT PROPOSAL - COLOMBIA

REF: 09 STATE 132094

SUMMARY

-------

1. Embassy Bogota nominates the project proposal "Political
Training for Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Women" by the
Departmental Network of Choco for the Secretary's Office of Global
Women's Issues (S/GWI) small grants initiative. The project
complements Post's strategy to promote opportunities for
Afro-Colombians and the indigenous, and advances USG objectives in
Colombia by strengthening civil society and development in two of
the country's most vulnerable communities. End Summary.

AFRO-COLOMBIAN AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES:

AN EMBASSY PRIORITY

-----------------------------------------

2. Colombia's populations of Afro-descendants (between 11 and 20
percent of the population) and indigenous (between one and three
percent) suffer from discrimination, social exclusion, structural
poverty, and a lack of political participation. This
marginalization allows illicit drug cultivation and trafficking in
their communities, subjecting them to disproportionate violence.
Embassy Bogota has made a concerted effort to allocate resources
towards these communities through programs sponsored by USAID and
the Public Affairs Section. The identified project is directly
linked to Mission priorities to implement programs that help
Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations realize greater
participation in the political and economic life of Colombia. On
January 12, Deputy Secretary James Steinberg and Colombian Foreign
Minister James Bermudez signed an Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic
Equality.

PROJECT NOMINATION: POLITICAL TRAINING FOR

AFRO-COLOMBIAN AND INDIGENOUS WOMEN

------------------------------------------

3. PROBLEM STATEMENT

Indigenous and Afro-Colombian women suffer additional barriers
based on both gender and ethnicity. The nominated project focuses
on women from the western Department of Choco along the Pacific
Coast, which is primarily Afro-Colombian and Indigenous and has the
highest levels of poverty in Colombia. Women from Choco suffer
from social, economic, and political exclusion, leaving them at a
stark disadvantage when competing with their male counterparts for
political office; the issue of displacement compounds this problem.
According to official statistics, 40% of the population of Choco
has been displaced since 1995 and over 50% are women.

4. PROJECT SUMMARY

The nominated project targets women in Choco for activities that
promote training, development, and political participation at the
school for political leadership, "Women from Choco to Power." The
school teaches women how to develop a successful political campaign
and design effective public policy. In addition to empowering
women, the school raises awareness among men through training on
gender-specific issues. A portion of the project's funds will be
dedicated to strengthening coordination between the Departmental
Network of Choco Women of Colombia and the Network of Young Women
in Choco, both of which play a role in the school's administration
and are well positioned to promote change and development.
Additionally, the project will support two income-generating
initiatives that will be managed by displaced women community

leaders who plan to pursue careers in politics. These displaced
women will receive political leadership training at the "Women from
Choco to Power" school. The Departmental Network of Choco Women
has already raised 30% of the funds needed to fund the project.

5. DETAILED PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Objective 1: Political Training and Capacity Building of Women in
Choco

Activity 1.1: Three 8-day trainings on human rights, public
administration, cultural identity, advocacy, and campaign
management.

Activity 1.2: A 2-day on-the-job training exercise at the City
Council of Quibdo (the capital of Choco) and the Departmental
Assembly.

Activity 1.3: Six workshops, three for young women and three for
displaced women, that strengthen leadership skills.

Expected Results: 60 women and 10 men with expressed interest in
running for office better equipped to run an effective campaign and
serve as public servants with a sensitivity to gender issues. 15
displaced women leaders and 10 young women empowered and equipped
to actively participate in the political process in their
communities.

Indicators: Number of women/men trained, number of participants
registered as candidates, number of participants elected to public
office. Number of displaced women that run for public office and
number of displaced women that are elected.

Objective 2: Income-generating projects to support displaced women

Activity 2.1: Creation of a store that sells local fresh produce
("Tienda Club") and is owned/managed by displaced women identified
as leaders and potential political candidates who represent the
interests of displaced women.

Activity 2.2: Creation of a store that sells local textiles
("Empresa de Confecciones") and is owned/managed by displaced women
identified as leaders and potential political candidates who
represent the interests of displaced women.

Activity 2.3: Political and business training for displaced women
in charge of the two mentioned stores.

Expected Results: The creation of two sustainable businesses that
benefit displaced women and the increased participation of
displaced women in politics. At least two displaced women elected
for public office.

Indicators: Number of displaced women trained, number of displaced
women registered as candidates, and number of displaced women
elected to a public office.

Objective 3: Strengthening Local Organizations

Activity 3.1: A three-day regional conference in September 2010
with leaders from 52 civic organizations which form the
Departmental Network of Choco Women to develop an action plan.

Activity 3.2: A one-day workshop with the Governor and the
Departmental Secretaries to discuss the issues that affect women in
Choco.

Activity 3.3: A national conference on female entrepreneurship for
leaders from the 52 civic organizations.

Expected Results: An organized and prepared network of
organizations representing women in Choco with a developed action
plan. Local government officials will be more aware of the issues
affecting women, particularly displaced women. A cadre of better
trained female leaders, particularly in business, will be formed.

Indicators: Number of participants in the design of a regional
action plan for the network, number of agreements achieved with the
government towards the promotion of the rights of women in Choco,
and number of businesses created by women from the network.

Objective 4: Ensuring sustainability

Activity 4.1: Develop an evaluation which includes a summary of the
results achieved under objectives 1-3 to sustain and build upon the
network's foundation.

Expected Results: An evaluation that details the process and
results from each aforementioned workshop and activity.

6. ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY

The Departmental Network of Choco Women of Colombia is an umbrella
group of 52 civic organizations. It was created in September 1992
and is represented in 18 of the 31 municipalities of the western
Department of Choco. Its mission is to promote gender equality and
contribute to the social development of the Department.

The structure of the network is as follows:

1. A General Assembly with 52 delegates each organization
represented;

2. A coordinating team with seven coordinators elected by the
General Assembly every three years;

3. A general Coordinator and/or Legal Representative elected by the
coordinating team;

4. Working groups for finances, special projects, and relations
with other organizations;

5. A senior advisor, normally one of the founders and director of
one of the 52 organizations; and

6. Facilitators and tutors.

During the past 18 years, the Departmental Network of Choco Women
has trained and empowered many women, as well as raised awareness
among men about gender issues. The network currently has over
1,000 female and 25 male members. The network has attracted both
national and international attention and has received support from
the Canadian Embassy in Colombia, the Spanish Women's Institute,
and USAID.

The network currently manages two income-generating projects: a
restaurant that serves food from the region, "La Paila de mi
Abuela" and an artisan store, "Tienda Artesanal de la RED." Not
only do these two projects generate employment and income for
community members, but they also help generate revenue for the
network which is then invested in training for affiliated
organizations to strengthen their leadership and advocacy skills.

In 2007, the Departmental Network of Choco Women received an award
from one of Colombia's leading newspapers, El Tiempo, for being the
organization that best meets its mission in Choco. In 2009, the
organization received the Madeleine K. Albright Grant for its work
to create greater roles for women in the region's civil and
political life. The organization largely depends on fundraising
efforts to fulfill its mission of empowering as many women as
possible.

7. PROPOSED BUDGET AND POINT OF CONTACT

A proposed, detailed budget was e-mailed to the Secretary's Office
of Global Women's Issues per instructions. POC at post is Deputy
Political Counselor Shelby Smith-Wilson.
NICHOLS

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