Technical Assistance for Housing in the Reinsertion Process in Colombia

Since 1990, a process of dialogue and negotiation has been taking place between the national government and a number of Peace Agreements have been signed between the national government and armed groups in Colombia. As a result, a number of Peace Agreements have been signed establishing the minimal conditions necessary to ensure the disarmament of the members of these organizations and their insertion into civilian life.
The reinsertion process represents an attempt to permit the expression of other points of view for a better and more just country. It would be naive, however, to think that pacification will be achieved soon. Nor do these actions represent a genuine peace policy which seeks to resolve social conflicts through negotiation.
In response to these processes, the national government has developed a number of initiatives which had made it possible to enter into negotiations with some of the armed organizations. To provide follow-up to these agreements, the Presidential program for Reinsertion was established and was put in charge of fulfilling the agreements through coordinating the efforts of governmental health, education, employment, and housing agencies.
Chapter 4 of the Peace Agreement signed between the National Government and the arranged rebel group Corriente de Renovacion Socialista (CRS) includes a Reinsertion Program which covers: all the benefits agreed to by the representatives of the CRS, which would serve to make it truly and concretely possible for them to reincorporate themselves into the countrys economic and social life
This Program defines actions to be taken in terms of health care, education, psychological well-being, training and technical assistance, culture, income-generating projects, land programs, the promotion of the peace process, and housing. In this last aspect, the government committed itself to:
  • Provide training for those who were reinserting themselves so that they could form businesses for housing development.
  • Provide training for developing community housing plans.
Work with organizations formed by the reinserted for the implementation of their housing plans, so that these plans gain the approval and support of governmental agencies. The government will provide subsidies for low-income housing for the reinserted and will help community members involved in housing programs to gain access to housing subsidies.
The government will accompany the efforts initiated by the reinserted to gain access to loans to finance housing construction.
The Federation (Fedevivienda) began to participate in the process, specifically to attend to the technical assistance needs of the CRS, seeking first to diagnose the situation and identify actions needed to ensure housing for the families of the de-mobilized. Thus, the first stage involved a socio-economic diagnosis of the families, and in the second, a profile was developed of the housing programs in which the members of the CRS had decided to participate.
Fedevivienda was thus able to do work around the issue of reinsertion. This led Fedevivienda to see how housing has served as a way for the demobilized to become involved in organizational processes which could lead to local level political participation. Now, as this experience comes to a close. Fedevivienda recognizes that housing has played a key role in involving this group in organizing activities. Furthermore, the dynamics involved in promoting and managing housing development helped the reinserted to become more connected to the communities and the municipalities in which they live.

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