The corporation « Penca of Sábila » was founded in 1987 to promote alternative environmental management. It defends sustainable development and fights for improving life quality in popular districts of Antioquia region.

Medellin, between urbanization and rurality

With the population of 3,8 million people, Medellin is the second biggest urban area in Colombia. It is also the first economic and financial center, but two thirds of its territory consists of rural zones and its population lives below the poverty line. The poorest live in slums in the mountains which surround more favored districts.

The city comes from a long way. In 1980s Medellin was the city where criminal, social and symbolic violence was concentrated and where it developed. Entire parts of the city escaped public control. In 1991 it counted around 15 000 violent deaths per year and this ratio was the highest in the world.

Starting from 1990s massive public investments were put in place to restructure and integrate the ‘no-go’ zones into the urban tissue. However, these efforts were insufficient.

Today, 55,5% of homes in the urban zone and 79% of the rural ones are still in the situation of food insecurity.

What is more, widespread violence persists and provokes significant population shifts : 1 854 people in 2008, 4 474 in 2009 and 10 339 in 2010, around 2 585 families in 2010 only. This violence is often perpetrated against women: in 2009, the NGO EXFAM report noted that one woman out of 5 that moved had been subject to sexual violence.

Support farmers facing increasing urbanization

Penca and Sabila, our local partner, intervene in this context. While the city expands and occupies the land of the villages, our partner supports the farmers so that they can preserve their land and keep their techniques of organic agricultural production while respecting the environment.

Organic farming training workshops are organized. New agricultural production is then commercialized among large public in fair trade shops and agricultural fairs in the region.

In order to contribute to the economic independence of women of the region, new tools to develop livestock farming are put in place. The material (tile, networking..) which is necessary for the construction of henhouses is financed by GeTM and women provide labor and wood to construct pens. Thus, in 2012, 18 pens with 35 hens in them were built.

The actions also foresee reinforcing the capacity of management and mobilization, and the ability to impact civil society to influence public politics. Campaigns are put in place in favor of “the defense of sovereignty, security and food anomalies’.