NewsThe allotment which brought the smile back to the women of Anorí

Nancy Chigama, Colombia Peace UNMPTF

“Before I would never be seen smiling. Now I feel inner peace and nothing compares with that”.

My name is Nancy Chigama and I am the indigenous governess of the Tenche Los Guamos council. I remember a time when –like other farmers in Anorí, Antioquia– I lived off coca alone. You didn’t grow it because you wanted to, it was really out of necessity and under pressure from armed groups. Indigenous female farmers like myself lost loved ones and missed out on important moments with our families. But that wasn’t all. The social fabric of our community broke apart and that awoke in me the desire to put it back together.

Since the signing of the peace deal, I have been more involved than ever in community development. First, I signed up to the Programme for the Substitution of Illicit Crops and participated in the design of the Development Programs with a Territorial Focus for my municipality. Then, as if a spell of good luck had arrived in my life, I became indigenous governess of my town and got a technical degree in Rural Development, to help me get closer to achieving my dream of contributing to peace in Colombia.

Now I work at the municipal allotment of Anorí. There I plant seedlings from forest species, fruit trees, and aromatic and medicinal plants, collaborating with 40 other women who have substituted their crops. Together we participate in the contingency plan supporting families working for the eradication of coca crops, put in place by the PASO Colombia organization and backed by the Stabilization Council and the Multi-Partner Trust Fund, to offer support and new opportunities to 1,967 families.

Together we rebuilt the municipal garden centre, but the important thing behind all this is that today we are the female leaders of the sustainable development of our territory and there is no turning back from that. This program has, without doubt, transformed us, and we never want to go back to doing something which steals our peace.