In March 2021, ECLAC’s office in Colombia held a virtual workshop offering training and capacity building to leaders and organizations from the four municipalities of southern Tolima department, a region that is involved in the Territorial Approach Development Programs (PDET).
The workshop consisted of five collective work modules that brought together women’s organizations, producer associations, mayor’s offices and municipal secretariats, universities, youth groups, NGOs and foundations that work in that territory, among others. The event is part of a journey that began in 2020 during the lockdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has included numerous virtual talks on issues of regional interest held as part of the Territorial linkages for inclusive development in Colombia project.
The workshop was structured around three pillars: learning and building along the way, practical activities corresponding to participants’ realities and needs, and developing collective work based on mutual learning and joint construction.
Its objective was to explore, map and take advantage of the relations that connect rural and urban lives in southern Tolima based on their identities, culture, economy, biodiversity and social ties, employing five core themes:
- Reflecting on the identities of southern Tolima and their value for the territory and for forging more inclusive public policies.
- Recognizing the distinct rural-urban ties that exist in the territory, identifying their multiple dimensions and the actors that build them.
- Understanding the roles of organizations and initiatives in distinct value chains to strengthen work in networks and partnerships for development.
- Strengthening communicational capacities to narrate the territory.
- Building capacities for the negotiation and creation of agreements aimed at forging value chains and territorial linkages.
Diverse regional actors participated proactively in this space along with distinct voices from civil society, the educational community, groups of young people and women, and some decision-makers from the territory. The attendees contributed their learned experiences and reflections to the training segments through dialogue while also charting joint paths to follow.
The outcome was very positive, according to the participants, who highlighted the importance of these spaces for consolidating a unified vision of the territory, based on a shared history and with the firm purpose of building peace. In addition, they expressed their interest, willingness and energy to continue building territorial linkages as part of their activities and confirmed their determination to create networks and strengthen rural-urban ties.
Through this work, ECLAC hopes to collaborate on building one of the possible territorial designs for southern Tolima and to position itself as a catalyzing platform to bring together voices and chart paths that would promote cooperation and exchange.