Building Peace from the Grassroots

Over the past few months I traveled and visited almost all the Seeders, from Suacha, to Chocó, to the Caribbean coast.

Cheese soup, rice, and fried plantains for lunch in Chocó. Always a must have when traveling.

This is one of my favorite part of being a Seed facilitator. I get to observe and see firsthand the Seeders interacting in the contexts as they build trust with community members. I get to reconnect with people that I haven’t seen in months. I get to observe advances in projects, that are addressing contextual challenges that our partners are involved in day in and day out, and I get to see how different partners are learning from one another. Seeing these things directly, feeling the heat of the coast, the wind of Suacha, or the humidity of Chocó can’t quite compare to reading a Seeder’s blog or partner’s email.

In these recent visits, I came to realize once again that at times, the contexts where our partners work can be very difficult. For example, in Chocó, I visited during a civil strike where transportation was limited and imported food supplies were dwindling. These strikes, both civic and armed, are part of the reality that our partners and the communities they work with, face as they carry out their work. Sometimes their work is forced to slow down or simply wait out strikes, other times the communities march together demanding that the governments promises will be fulfilled.

Similarly, during my visit to the coast one challenge came up again and again in every community I visited; the changing climate patterns. The heat was overwhelming, even for most costeños who are more accustomed to it. The rain was sporadic and hard to read because its arrival changes from year to year. But these small farming communities alongside accompaniers continue adapting, searching for new techniques, new solutions to continue their way of life.

An enormous Caracolis tree in the Montes de Maria. Planting of trees in the region is becoming more and more important to combat the effects of climate change

Interestingly, on the coast there is no denial of the reality of climate change, something we continue to debate where I come from. Rather, communities who are partners accompany on the coast and in Chocó, Suacha, and elsewhere are tackling these impacts of climate change head on with the every day.

I always consider it a privilege to be able to travel and accompany various communities and partners in their work to build a more peaceful Colombia. We hope the stories shared by the Seeders in the past few months are inspiring, that in the midst of challenges, big and small, communities are learning from each other and working together to build Peace in this beautiful Colombia.

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