AFE’s collective Antioquia project, is an innovative initiative currently lead by 16 AFE Foundations, and has successfully finished its diagnostic phase and will now begin its implementation with the support of the SDG Philanthropy Platform.
The Collective Project is the result of AFE Foundations in Antioquia wishing to work together in a comprehensive view to assist in the development of two complete different townships located in the region, San Juan de Uraba and San Luis Oriente. It is noteworthy how the project has been conceived through the ideal that there is no room for individualism within the actions that take place in realization and discussion of the initiative. The Collective Project seeks to foster a consolidated vision of a region that becomes the driving force of the commitment from the participating foundations in the project. A consolidated regional vision of the actors involved in the process is a key issue that must take place if this initiative is going to be replicated in the future, either in Antioquia or in other Colombian regions.
The Collective Project aims to become an initiative worth to be replicated in other regions of Colombia and Latin America. For this reason, AFE and its associated Foundations work incessantly to make this project beneficial for the communities of San Juan and San Luis and other social actors interested in the impact of the project.
The project’s first phase, which began in the first semester of 2016, had the participation of AFE and 12 AFE Foundations from the Antioquia region in Colombia, and the support from the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The collective project stems from the need and desire of AFE Foundations in the region of Antioquia to work on a joint initiative with the purpose of having a sustained impact on the development of two vulnerable communities in the region. These Foundations understood the importance of the leverage they all had when working together, and the positive effect this could have when working on an initiative that invited AFE Foundations to work with the same vision and purpose of advancing the quality of life in the project’s chosen communities. During the first phase, AFE and the participating Foundations met periodically to assess the progress of the diagnostic phase, showing how the Collective project is one of the most important themes in the agenda of the participating Foundations.
The first phase, which involved a participatory diagnostic phase, involved three stages where the main objective was gathering essential information from the local inhabitants, authorities and institutions about the characteristics and challenges people from the two townships are facing. The first stage was linking AFE Foundations and the community, this involved stage meeting with inhabitants of the towns and “strategic who’s” such as council members, local authorities and community leader with the aim to socialize the initiative with them and create work groups to discuss the main issues people from the townships face. The first stage was also used to select an overseeing committee and draft a fieldwork agenda.
The second stage of the participatory diagnostic phase was the project contextualization which involved gathering important statistic from the local welfare office -SISBEN- which is a system of the National Planning Department to classify people and their needs. There was also a process of checking secondary sources such as the Local Development Plan and the Ordinance Plan from the municipalities where the townships are located. Other sources used in this stage were the interviews held with influential figures from the community and the observation made by the technical team doing the fieldwork.
Finally, the third stage was bringing in the information from the first two stages with the purpose of creating a base line for the project, and through this, have different workshops with the community discussing their history, territory issues, what brings them together as a community and how will they organize for the project, with the technical team finalizing a detailed information analysis document to present to AFE Foundations. Moreover, a systematization of the first phase was carried out by the Universidad de Antioquia whose Foundation is an AFE member actively participating in the Collective Project.
The implementation phase began in June 2017 with the signing of the Governance Agreement; it is noteworthy that four new AFE Foundations will join the Collective Project in this stage, these are Fundacion EPM, Fundación Aurelio Llano, Fundación Conconcreto and Fundación Saldarriaga Concha. In this phase, the Collective Project will start working on improving the access to clean water and sanitation of the townships. Furthermore, the implementation phase will last two years. In this time, the Collective Project will work in other issues that were discussed by the communities during the community-based participatory dialogue.
The prioritization of clean water and sanitation as the first issue to be covered by the Collective Project was done in alignment with the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda has been present in the whole process, and it is explained in the following order: To work to end poverty and inequality in two Colombian townships (SDG 1 and 10), several AFE Foundations are working together (SDG 17) to implement better sanitation and clean water to these communities (SDG 6), a better sanitation system will have as a consequence the improvement of several SDGs, such as health, education, income generation and sustainable communities. The process of SDG alignment was done together with Antioquia Sostenible, an organization that aligned Antioquia’s development priorities with the SDGs.