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

July 22, 2011

L-R: Richard “Dick” McCall, Creative’s IGRP Program Director, Alvaro Balcazar, Director of PCIM, and Thomas Wheelock, Creative’s Vice President & Senior Director, Communities in Transition Division.

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. IGRP was designed to strengthen the Government of Colombia’s credibility and legitimacy in areas recently reclaimed from illegal armed groups. From February 2007 to July 2011, Creative worked with Colombian citizens to address community concerns by dispersing over 940 grants’ timeliness and transparency boosted citizens’ confidence in their government’s capacity to respond to their basic needs and enhance community cohesion through activities such as water and sanitation programs, construction of schools and health centers, and small scale economic development, including infrastructure projects to repair and construct bridges, secondary and tertiary roads, box culverts, community centers, and sports courts.

Alvaro Balcazar, Director of PCIM, Creative’s Government of Colombia counterpart presenting at CSIS.

The PROGRESO economic development component, launched in November 2007, linked rural farmers with Government of Colombia programs and market opportunities in order to increase rural production and economic generation. The component aimed to increase the income and improve the standards of living of small and medium producers through the support of short term licit activities; strengthen the credibility and legitimacy of the GOC in post-conflict areas in Meta to increase the willingness and capacity of communities to cooperate and interact with the GOC, and to improve the GOC’s capacity to respond to community-prioritized necessities in a timely and credible manner. As designed, the IGRP provided and tested a rapid response mechanism of alternative development in transition environments in order to identify lessons learned for implementation in conflict zones.

L-R: Stephen Johnson, Director of the CSIS Americas Program, with Creative staff, event participants and evaluators: Alvaro Balcazar, Director of PCIM; Cytandra Hoover, Creative’s IGRP Program Manager; Johanna Mendelson Forman, Senior Associate CSIS Americas Program and IGRP evaluator, and Diego Meyer Artunduaga, Mayor of San Juan de Arama, Meta.

The event titled, “Returning Government to Colombia’s Conflict Zones: A Light Footprint,” provided evaluation results (and lessons learned) conducted about IGRP by CSIS and the United States Institute for Peace (USIP). According to CSIS, the event “set the scene for a discussion of how this approach [IGRP] can address Colombia’s ongoing security and development needs.” To ensure multiple perspectives, CSIS invited Alvaro Balcazar, First Civil Coordinator of the Plan de Consolidación Integral de la Macarena (PCIM), and Diego Meyer Artunduaga, Mayor of San Juan de Arama, Meta to provide a field perspective. Stephen Johnson—Director and Senior Fellow, CSIS Americas Program—gave an introduction and Susan Reichle—former USAID Colombia Mission Director and current USAID Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning—gave an overview of IGRP. General commentary and the evaluation process and results were provided by Johanna Mendelson Forman—Senior Associate, CSIS Americas Program and Simon Chair in Political Economy; Robert D. Lamb—Senior Fellow and Director, Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation (C3); and Phillip McLean—Senior Associate, CSIS Americas Program.

An article on the IGRP program will be forthcoming in the autumn edition of Creative magazine. For additional information on IGRP and the CSIS event, please click here.

Click here for the CSIS Program Evaluation

Click here for Mr. Balcazar’s presentation

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