"Peace, land and dignity for all”
(LWI) - “A marvelous job: Close to the most affected people and communities, seeking to empower them and amplify their voices.” - These words of appreciation from Laura Rodriguez Burrell from the OCHA head office in Colombia are among many messages of appreciation for the two decades of LWF’s work in Colombia. This year, the LWF Colombia program celebrates its 20th anniversary. It is no coincidence that the program chose to mark this milestone on World Peace Day.
“For two decades we have been accompanying some of the regions in Colombia most affected by armed conflict and inequality”, said Adriana Franco Chitanana, the LWF Representative for Colombia and Venezuela.“ Our commitment to peace focuses on respecting and working with the communities with the highest rates of poverty in the country and those most affected by the internal conflict, reaching the most remote places directly, building trust to work hand in hand with local partner organizations.”
When LWF World Service started working in Colombia, the armed conflict was going into its fourth decade. In 2002, at the request of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia LWF started supporting conflict-affected communities, initially from the Central American program.
When the human rights situation deteriorated further in 2006, LWF Colombia was registered as a country program, and started working in the departments of Arauca and Choco supporting rural, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. Until today, the regions are contested territory between armed groups, prone to natural disaster, and also used as drug and human trafficking routes.