Reclaiming power through territory
In Colombia, Peru, and throughout our region, where a person lives—their territory—can define their life. This is especially true for Afrodescendants, indigenous peoples, women, young people, and rural communities. Though the region boasts booming economies, territorial inequality undermines national gains. People in remote territories are often marginalized and disenfranchised, living amid disputes over land and violence tied to natural resource exploitation. Some of these territories have been devastated by armed conflict. And too often, the voices of those impacted are not being heard.
We believe it is only when these communities participate freely and fully in decisions that affect them, including decisions related to natural resources, that the forces that perpetuate inequality can be disrupted. To build more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable territories, communities must be empowered to identify the challenges they face, and equipped to build alliances to address them.
Our two complementary initiatives are focused on reducing territorial inequality, with the goal of realizing increased power, rights, and access for Afrodescendants, indigenous communities, and others who have been pushed to the margins. This includes investing in local organizational and leadership capacity; research, strategic litigation, and advocacy; supporting dialogue and driving alliances; protecting the safety and security of social leaders; and challenging damaging narratives. We approach all our work with an intersectional lens and particular attention to gender issues.
We work across Colombia and Peru, and to a lesser degree in Chile, with a focus on Colombia’s Pacific Coast (encompassing areas in Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, and Nariño departments) and Peru’s Mining Corrider (including Cusco and Apurímac departments as well as neighboring areas in Ayacucho, Arequipa, Puno, and Madre de Dios).