Initial Governance Response Program

Colombia’s five decade effort to push back illegal armed groups and an ongoing fight against drug trafficking took on new vigor when the government launched a multi-year offensive that recovered territory and set the stage for peace. As the government began to reclaim territory, Colombia’s president formed a specialized office— called Acción Social—to coordinate the delivery of assistance to 15 regions recovered from these armed groups and all social services throughout the country.

To reinforce and support Acción Social’s efforts, in 2007 USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives funded Creative’s Initial Governance Response Program that focused on the La Macarena region and Meta Department. It had three primary goals: To strengthen the government’s credibility in the consolidation zones; to increase communities’ willingness to cooperate with authorities; and to boost the delivery of services based on communities’ prioritized needs.

In the region of La Macarena, Creative’s Programa Progreso initiative rolled out a strategy with farmers and ranchers in 169 villages to improve their existing products, production and value chains. It collaborated with formal and informal organizations as a conduit to reach the small-scale producers.

For example, in Vista Hermosa, a municipality of approximately 21,000 residents, Programa Progreso undertook 36 projects that revolved around seven main lines of production, such as honey and rubber.

It created 27 associations and engaged 10 existing ones in making well-informed, calculated decisions that improved the quality of production, strengthened value chains and increased income. The intervention benefited more than 8,700 residents—41 percent of the municipality’s population—and created 290 new jobs.

For the Colombian government, its role and legitimacy grew among the residents through an active presence and consultation process. Through eight coordinating meetings (with an average of 100 participants in each gathering), the government engaged residents in decisions. Separately, government officials were present in more than 220 meetings in Vista Hermosa.

In both the La Macarena region and Meta Department, the Initial Governance Response Program provided 700 short-term grants that averaged about $40,000 to promote private enterprise. The funds were matched by cash and in-kind resources from the Colombian national and local governments, as well as community members and the private sector.


Colombia’s Initial Governance Response Program, the Elements of Effective Localization

The basic principles of democratic governance and a free-market economy remained elusive for decades in Colombia’s Meta Department, specifically in La Macarena. The region has been historically controlled by the longest running guerilla insurgency in Latin America namely the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the “FARC.” Learn More...


WASHINGTON: CSIS Lauds Creative-implemented USAID/OTI Colombia Rapid Response Project

On July 13th, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held the first public discussion on the successes of the USAID-funded and Creative-implemented $50 million Initial Governance Response Program (IGRP), known by the component names—Colombia Responde, PROGRESO, and Planes de Transición. Learn More...

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