The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict officially launched in Colombia in 2012. Colombian women’s organizations Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas, lead by Patricia Guerrero, is a champion for the Campaign both in Colombia and internationally. Other Campaign members in Colombia include MADRE’s Colombian Task Force, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Colombia (WILPF).
Campaign members are working on the frontlines in Colombia to support survivors of sexual violence and bring peace to their communities. Women-led grassroots organizations and national organizations have launched a number of creative initiatives to address the specific needs of women impacted by the conflict.
One such initiative is the City of Women, launched by Campaign member Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas. The City of Women is a housing development that provides over 100 internally displaced Colombian women with safe, clean housing in the northern city of Turbaco, near Cartagena. The City of Women is a women-led, women-built village that is celebrated as a successful model of social housing in the region.
Long-standing Campaign members MADRE and WILPF / LIMPAL Colombia are working together to provide essential services to displaced Afro-Colombian and Indigenous women and youth in Bogota. Their project, Taller de Vida, offers trauma counselling to women and empowers them through creative income-generating activities. Taller de Vida also works closely with youth to prevent their recruitment as child soldiers.
Afro-Caribbean women are also organizing against armed groups and corporations pressing their way on to their mineral rich land. Together in their communities, Afro-Caribbean women are uniting to resist forced displacement and protect their land from large-scale mining operations—and the violence that accompanies forced displacement.
In the coastal town of Buenaventura, notorious for the grotesquely violent actions of paramilitary groups, community members have united with human rights organizations to reclaim their neighbourhoods. In April 2014, they re-inaugurated a street to be a Humanitarian Space, a space where legal and illegal armed actors are prohibited from entering. Although small, this zone represents the potential of communities to bring peace to their streets.