rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Women building peace in Colombia: Isabel Polanco and Organización Femenina Popular

This year KAIROS is celebrating International Women’s Day (March 8) with the launch of a video on Isabel Caicedo  Polanco and the work of KAIROS’ partner, the  Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) in Colombia.

Isabel Caicedo Polanco is a woman of remarkable courage.  She is a devoted daughter, mother, partner, community activist and human rights defender.  She describes herself as an example of her community in Barrancabermeja, Colombia and of her organization, the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP), a KAIROS partner. Like so many women from marginalized communities in Colombia, Isabel is herself a victim of Colombia’s 50 year armed conflict. She lives in the region of Magdalena  Medio which is rich in natural  resources, especially oil and gold, but also extremely poor with a poverty rate that is nearly double the national average. This region was a focal point in

Isabel was displaced twice by the armed conflict, once after a horrific massacre in her neighbourhood and once because of her work as a human rights defender. Upon her return to Barrancabermeja, she received psycho-social and legal accompaniment from the OFP and participated in its educational programs and training. As a result, she is now herself a human rights defender and works with the OFP, supporting and training other women.

Isabel was in Canada in November 2016, during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, and participated in KAIROS’ NO MAS! -- End Violence Against Women NOW tour.  She met with diverse groups including churches, Indigenous groups, women’s organization students, Latin American diaspora and solidarity groups and other social movements.  In Ottawa, she met with members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and Global Affairs Canada officials. Her message focused on violence against women, the impacts of the armed conflict in Colombia, the hopes and the challenges of the current peace process, and the work of the OFP.

The OFP has 45 years experience working with marginalized women, advocating for human rights and building conditions for peace amidst the conflict in Colombia. In Canada, Isabel appealed to the Canadian government to accompany the Colombian peace process during this critical time and to support women’s rights organizations like the OFP in the implementation of this peace process.  She presented a vision of peace from the perspective and work of women in Colombia and the OFP.

Isabel is an example of how the OFP empowers women who are victims and survivors of war to become human rights defenders and advocates. In turn, the OFP is an example of the tenacity, creativity and effectiveness of local women’s rights organizations and of their critical role in implementing the current peace accord in Colombia.

This video showcases one of KAIROS’ Women of Courage partners that is working to build equitable, sustainable and just peace – with a feminist face. Learn more about Women of Courage.

 

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.