The ‘Colectivo de Mujeres Pazificas’ is a women’s peace network established in 2000 in Calí, one of the most violent cities in Colombia. The organisation’s goal is to provide an alternative solution to the great social, economic and political differences in Colombia from a gender perspective. Although women are much more affected than men by all types of aggression in the Colombian conflict, they are under-represented in political decision-making and have traditionally been excluded from the negotiation processes.
The organisation works to reinforce the structural changes necessary to secure the rights of women and provide an alternative to war and violence in Colombia. This includes establishing communication with women participating in guerilla groups in order to make them aware of gender issues; the promotion of peaceful and non-violent solutions to social problems; developing and implementing public relations and communication strategies to pressure the Colombian government and the other armed actors to take women’s issues into consideration; and the mobilisation of communities to raise awareness of the obstacles to peace.
Escuela de Mujeres Pazíficas
This project aims at empowering and educating women in Calí and the surrounding villages in non-violence resistance. ‘Escuela’ (‘school’) encourages women from all backgrounds and walks of life to come together to learn, share and spread the message of non-violence throughout their own communities. The school also urges women to participate in civil society.
Through education, women are supported, encouraged and empowered to believe in and create a better future and an alternative to violence and fear. In 2009, 35 women, all from very deprived backgrounds, graduated from the programme. As part of their end-of-course project, students developed a map that displayed the main areas of violence for women in the city of Calí.