GOVERNABILITY & CIVIL SOCIETY
A major obstacle to sustainable socio-economic development in the Colombian and Peruvian Amazonian border region is the lack of governability, which is determined by the capabilities of the governance systems and civil society, and the quality of their interactions.
A lack of governability encompasses inadequate leadership and leadership skills, vocation, organizational structure, widespread corruption, and a disinterested general public, and usually results in inefficient management and poor community economic development.
Entropika aims to alleviate poverty in the region by improving the governability of indigenous communities and strengthening the capacity and participation of civil society by conducting a series of workshops and empowering these target groups to claim their rights and independently manage sustainable economic opportunities, their natural resource base, and community-operated services.
SAN ANTONIO DE LOS LAGOS
San Antonio de Los Lagos is a Tikuna indigenous community located 7 kilometers north from Leticia, the capital of the Colombian Amazon, and can only be reached by boat. The community has a population of approximately 500 people, the majority of which are unemployed and rely on subsistence agriculture and artisanal fishing.
Capacity-buildings workshops for the community’s authorities and leaders focus on improving levels of literacy and numeracy, administration skills, organizational management, and planning and implementing a government funded community project.
This training process is geared to hone leadership skills and understanding of people-centered leadership values, changing self-interested attitudes and behaviors, and building self-confidence. Developing the capacity to govern is not just performing statutory obligations, but entails possessing strong moral and ethical convictions, a shared sense of purpose and vision, and the ability to respond to the needs of one’s community.
Entropika’s efforts will also provide support to the community in order to increase the participation of its inhabitants, as they play a critical role in the decision-making processes of the community.
Enhancing San Antonio’s civic participation and empowerment is a pivotal step in improving community economic development, and has the potential to resolve the underlying issues hindering the community’s socio-economic development and quality of life including human rights infractions, gender inequality, climate change, and corruption (ex. poor access to education, health services, potable water, basic sanitation, and financial opportunities, among others).
San Antonio de Los Lagos will be a pilot project to be replicated in other communities.
CITIZEN OVERSIGHT GROUPS (COGs)
The citizen oversight groups of Leticia form a civic control organization that functions as a democratic mechanism to supervise government projects and public resource management, detect corruption, and report ineffective state action and civil rights violations.
Entropika provides technical advice for the members of COGS in the use of legal tools to defend their rights and those of civil society, and demand fiscal transparency and accountability in public contracts projects executed with governmental funds.
In the near future, we plan to give capacity-building workshops covering computing, public accounting and contracting, basic concepts on administration law and social control, civil engineering, social security, environment, animal protection laws, and the design and follow-up of public policies. Entropika also directs the COGs to access to legal advice, provide necessary tools for the COGs to carry out their work such as cameras, computers, and space for working and meetings.
WOMEN VICTIMS DISPLACED BY ARMED CONFLICT NETWORK (WVDACN)
The Women Victims Displaced by Armed Conflict Network (WVDACN) was formed in December 2018 by a coalition of women who sought refuge in Leticia after fleeing their homelands to avoid violence at the hands of illegally armed groups and military forces. All members hail from other areas in Colombia, many from indigenous backgrounds, and almost all have suffered from forced displacement, sexual violence, homicide, and death threats. These women have banded together to create a network of support and kinship, and collectively advocate for their rights as displaced women so that they may resume a normal life safely and with dignity.
Although the 2011 Victims and Land Restitution Law details comprehensive reparations for internally displaced persons, most of the WVDACN members have never received financial compensation or government assistance to facilitate integration into their host communities. Many of the women are the sole income earners for their households and currently rely on informal employment, making small earnings as garment workers or fruit vendors.
Entropika provides workshops on legal and administrative training so that the WVDACN members can express their needs with a unified voice in community meetings and public policy-making processes concerning victims of armed conflict in the territory. We are also working together to implement income generating projects to strengthen self-reliance and develop marketable skills.
During the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, Amazon Conservation Team and Entropika provided materials and machinery to the WNVAC so that they can make and sell facemasks and protective suits in order to provide for their families.