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BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Global Communities complete first year of partnership to assist vulnerable communities in Colombia

Source: CHF International - Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:55 GMT
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Silver Spring, MD (March 12, 2014) – Global Communities today announced the successful completion of the first year of a partnership with BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities (BSC) to assist vulnerable communities and displaced persons in Colombia. BSC has provided US ${esc.dollar}28.6 million to ANDA, a five-year program specifically designed to address the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable communities to complement poverty reduction efforts by the national government.

Global Communities has worked for nearly 13 years implementing large-scale development programs throughout Colombia including income generation, microfinance, housing/infrastructure HIV/health and humanitarian assistance programs. ANDA has partnered so far with the San Isidro Foundation, a foundation supported by the Cerro Matoso mine, Fundacion Amanecer and Diakonia de la Paz, and will partner other local organizations to implement this program.

ANDA targets poor communities within the municipalities of Planeta Rica, Buenavista, La Apartada, Montelibano, Puerto Libertador and San Jose de Ure in the northern Colombia department of Cordoba. It also helps disadvantaged women, youth, Afro-Colombians and indigenous persons living in and around the cities of Monteria and Cartagena, all of which have large populations of IDPs. The program targets these areas since, because of decades of conflict, they have been and remain without access to vital public services such as health care, water, sanitation, education as well as economic opportunities. The program also aims to provide IDPs and vulnerable communities with practical solutions to help them achieve greater economic and social stability. At the end, the program expects to have benefit 59,000 people.

ANDA is aiming to achieve these goals by working with communities to identify and advocate for the resources and services they need from local government agencies. It also works with local governments to help them access governmental resources to address local community needs, and with the private sector to help create businesses and job opportunities. Global Communities and BSC are focused on sustainable economic development to ensure that these communities are able to support themselves in the long term. 

Since the project commenced in February 2013, extensive consultations have been made with local and national government offices to ensure there is local acceptance and support for the program. To date ANDA has worked with 18 communities in the six municipalities of Cordoba with a total of 2,150 people that have attended community meetings out of 15 thousand people that live in these 18 communities. In Monteria and Cartagena the program has initiated vocational training activities with 400 participants.   

“We at Global Communities are delighted to partner with BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities to help Colombia’s economically disadvantaged people live better lives,” said David A. Weiss, President and CEO of Global Communities. “Global Communities has worked with internally displaced persons and vulnerable populations in nearly 350 municipalities throughout Colombia, and our work with ANDA builds on those efforts. We believe that the program helps to do what the name says – ANDA – a local Spanish word meaning “to move forward” or “advancement” which is what we seek for communities and participants.  ANDA is also a catchphrase used in the northern Colombian coast meaning “positive surprise!”

Ian Wood, Chairman of BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities said, “We are very encouraged by the strong engagement of the communities during the first year of the program and their positive response to the many opportunities the program brings. Our hope that is that by supporting Global Communities and its local partners to provide the knowledge, tools and capacity to the six participating municipalities to advocate for, and obtain, improved access to education, healthcare, water and sanitation and housing, BHP Billion Sustainable Communities will help transform people’s lives and bring about enduring positive change to the region.”

Currently Global Communities also is implementing projects throughout Colombia funded by USAID, the US Department of State, the Government of Colombia and the Global Fund.

ABOUT GLOBAL COMMUNITIES (FORMERLY CHF INTERNATIONAL)

Global Communities is an international non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org

ABOUT BHP BILLITON Sustainable Communities (BSC)

BSC is a charitable company registered in the United Kingdom n May 2009. Its goal is to help improve quality of life for people living in regions where BHP Billiton has a business interest, through conservation of the environment, relief of poverty and hardship and developing community’s resilience and capacity to advocate for and manage effective change. 

BSC operates independently of BHP Billiton and does not seek to further BHP Billiton commercial interests. 

BSC proactively researches and identifies social and environmental issues which form the foundation of the projects it supports globally. It works in concert with BHP Billiton’s local operations to validate its research, better understand local context and confirm that projects will complement the community investment being implemented locally.

In the case of Colombia, the plight of internally displaced persons was recognised to be a significant social issue. It also is closely aligned with BSC’s focus area of poverty alleviation and with Colombian government priorities; and is an issue that presents a major opportunity for community strengthening and personal and institutional capacity building.

BSC identified Global Communities as an active and reputable NGO, delivering programs in Colombia to address IDPs. With input from and engagement with BSC and Cerro Matoso, Global Communities designed the Colombia Resilience Project.

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