August 22, 2022
TwoWings Supports the “Planting Hope” Program in Los Palmitos

Many thoughtful and forward-looking efforts are trying to stop climate change and save the earth.

Trees are receiving more attention for their role in cooling the climate, absorbing and storing massive amounts of carbon, and creating more employment opportunities and a green economy (more eminently in countries with socio-economic disparities and vulnerable populations).

At the end of January 2020, Colombian President Iván Duque announced at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, that the country's goal is to plant 180 million trees by the end of 2022 (between 2018 and 2022). This massive tree planting program is to restore more than 300,000 hectares of degraded land.

Part of the Los Palmitos' land

One of the agricultural lands of Los Palmitos allocated to the “Planting Hope” program

The trees are purchased from national and private Colombian companies and transported to the planting site. To reach the planting goals, many requirements should be met closely and carefully, including:

  • To see whether the species are native with good genetic quality (Preferred) or invasive or exotic.
  • Considering whether the municipal Unit and local communities are assisted with adequate training and have been taught about technical agricultural issues, including soil, compost, care, and how to find appropriate micro-environmental conditions, etc. (1).

Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and is blessed with many species, fertile soil, and ground for different types of native flora. But unfortunately, deforestation and losing an enormous number of trees caused the people who made their living through agroforestry to confront considerable challenges in their livelihood and nutrition.

Considering the current situation, planting trees and agroforestry training programs are a vital help for communities in this region. FUNDAEC is a Colombian NGO that has served Colombian communities for years to overcome these challenges and sustainably improve their socio-economic and environmental conditions.

With the "Planting Hope" program, FUNDAEC provides communities with saplings, seedlings, and training opportunities in agroforestry. It also brings occupation, communication, solidarity, affordance, environmental beautification & health to families.

TwoWings is an NPO and one of the contributors to FUNDAEC's "Planting Hope" program in Cali, Colombia. TwoWings, with 26 years of experience in development programs, is also supporting the local communities of Los Palmitos through the tree planting program and is trying to take part in this critical mission responsibly.

Tree planting program's meeting

One of the Tree planting program's meetings in Los Palmitos

The "Planting Hope" program aims to plant 10,000 trees annually, provide local people with seedlings and saplings, arrange theoretical-practical training workshops, and support the participation of communities in land restoration.

Past and Present Conditions in Los Palmitos

Los Palmitos is a town and municipality located in the Sucre Department, northern Colombia. This spot has been hit by violence like murders, attacks, disappearances, and kidnapping, resulting in crippled local economies and destroyed communities (2).

Hundreds of families have been displaced from the Los Palmitos community and left their lands, although more families refused to leave their homes and preferred to resist the hardship (3).

Families in Los Palmitos

Some families in Los Palmitos refused to leave their homes

Most displaced peasants had to leave their agricultural land to stay either un- or underemployed, work as day laborers, informal commerce workers, or domestic servants. However, the work was temporary and sporadic in most cases (4).

Unfortunately, violence persisted even years after signing the 2016 peace agreement in Colombia. However, Protestant and Catholic churches organized relocation programs or asked the state to support displaced families in an organized return to their lands (5).

Peasant organizations have monthly meetings in Los Palmitos and construct plans in workshops to identify and prioritize weaknesses and strengths. Nevertheless, there are limitations to what the local peasant organization can achieve, and not everyone is interested in sociopolitical initiatives and community organization (According to research published in 2018).

Admirably, a community leader in Los Palmitos spoke of the women's movement in her municipality, women taking more leadership in the Peasant Reserve Zones, and gender equity among local men and women.

Although there are land sub-divisions and a lack of land in Los Palmitos, interviews show that many people consider the Peasant Reserve Zones in Los Palmitos a suitable land access strategy (6).

Los Palmitos Is Taking Part in “Planting Hope” Program

Presently Los Palmitos have decided to participate in the tree planting program, and a portion of the land is to be turned into a small forest. The "Planting Hope" program is to support this decision, so the land turns into a small forest as planned. The following pictures depict the area and a group of native youth.

The youth of Los Monos village

Youth are gathered in a village called Los Monos

These youths are gathered in the afternoon in a village called Los Monos. Los Monos translates to monkeys and also blond people. The story behind the peculiar name in an area with solid indigenous roots, dates back to when a family from Antioquia settled there and opened a hardware store. Their kids who helped out at the store happened to be fair-haired, so whenever anyone from the village sent their kids to buy anything from the store, they would ask them to go to Los Monos.