Mujeres Transformadoras de la Colombia Rural Award. Two rural women from Cauca and Tolima were awarded the prize for their contribution to peace, food security and protection of the territory. 50% of the land delivered by Colombia’s Government of Change has been granted to rural women. During the Award Ceremony, the director of the National Land Agency, Gerardo Vega Medina, ratified Colombia’s commitment to increase land ownership among women.
Colombia’s National Award, “Mujeres Transformadoras de la Colombia Rural,” (Women Transforming Rural Colombia) recognizes rural, indigenous, black, Afro, Raizal and Palenquera women, for their contribution to the growth and development of the countryside.
La Plata, Huíla. March 7, 2023
The National Land Agency delivered the third version of the Mujer Transformadora de Colombia Rural Award. Ninety eight women applied to be considered for the award; a record number for this recognition. The prize was born in 2020 to highlight the women beneficiaries of the different programs who contribute to the growth and rural development of the Colombian countryside.
Eveniz Rodríguez Meneses, from the department of Cauca, was one of the two winners of the Mujer Constructora de Paz (Woman Peacebuilder category).
“My name is Eveniz Rodriguez. I come from the municipality of Argelia representing the rural women of the municipality. My role in the work of rural women is to support others, moving forward productive projects that strengthen the food sovereignty of our municipality. Today, I feel very happy to be the winner of this award given to us by the National Land Agency.”
Yamileth Ospina Hernández, from the department of Tolima, was also the winner, under the category of the Mujer Conservadora del Territorio, (Land Preserving Woman).
“I am from the department of Colima in the municipality of Coyaima. I am the winner of the category, Land Conserving Woman. This is the result of almost 15 years of work with an organization that began dreaming of having its own land. Today, we have a 172-hectares farm. We work on a project that is dual purpose livestock farming and we also work hand in hand with the issue of conservation in the rural territory. It is not easy. But the empowerment of these spaces allows us to demonstrate to all the communities that we can transform our ecosystem, repopulating the trees to not only generate micro climates but also generate oxygen for our planet. We work very hard, hand in hand, with God and all the communities. I invite all the women from the regions of the entire country to empower themselves in their spaces and participate in this type of call, because change is possible,” announced Yamileth Ospina Hernández.
Both received recognition and participation in the International Meeting of Rural Women, in Spain, where they will present their experiences.
“I am very happy with this award, which recognizes the work of my community for the conservation of the territory in my municipality. We have a livestock project on the land that was titled to us, and also fish farming and reforestation projects to protect the environment,” added Yamileth.
During the awards ceremony, the director of the ANT, Gerardo Vega Medina, ratified the entity’s commitment to empowering women in the territories.
“During the first seven months of the Government of Change, titles have been delivered of more than 1.4 million hectares of land, of which 50% have been for women because they have not only been the main victims of violence in the country, but are fundamental for the construction of peace, the conservation of the territory and the social fabric,” he said.
“Turning women into land owners means peace for Colombia; it means taking a stance for development. It signifies that they are going to contribute to the fight against hunger,” said Vega Medina, adding that Colombia’s current administration is committed to turning women into great owners of properties in the country.
A total of 28,868 women have benefitted, of which 5,677 are rural women, 1,358 women from black communities, 21,468 women from indigenous reservations and 473 restitution women, detailed the Agencia Nacional de Tierras of Colombia in a press release.
On the Creation of the Agencia Nacional de Tierras
On December 7, 2015, Colombia issued through Decree 2363, titled, “Creating the Agencia Nacional de Tierras, ANT, and establishing its purpose and structure” to create an agency that would respond to the challenges of the post-conflict period regarding the development of the countryside and the implementation of the agreements signed within the framework of the peace process.
Thus, the Decree consigned the fundamental objective of this Agency as the highest State land authority in Colombia:
“The Agencia Nacional de Tierras, is the highest authority of the Nation’s lands, and will have the purpose of executing the policy of social ordering of rural property formulated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, for which it must manage access to land as a productive factor; achieve legal security on it, and promote its use in compliance with the social function of property and manage and dispose of rural properties owned by the Nation.”
In general terms, this Agency guarantees access to land for rural workers who do not have it or who have very little or insufficient land for their livelihood. For those who do have land but do not have it legalized, the Agency assists with formalizing land ownership. And for those who have land and have it formalized, the Agency guarantees adequate use in terms of fulfilling the social function of the land and its environmentally responsible use.
The Land Inspector provides the tools that allow meticulous monitoring of the processes with the intention of blocking corruption. Land Inspectors implement a management open to the public and participatory so that the communities in the regions, and in an organized manner, can participate and monitor the actions of the Agency and its officials.
Agencia Nacional de Tierras’ Leadership
Director, Gerardo Vega Medina
He is a recognized land restitution leader for his work with the Forjando Futuros Foundation, awarded with the National Peace Prize in 2012 and in 2015 with the human rights prize; Through this non-governmental organization, he represented victims of the Colombian armed conflict, especially those who have suffered the dispossession and forced abandonment of their lands.
In 2018, as director of Forjando Futuros, he presented a report to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) as an input for the preparation of the contexts of criminal investigations into forced displacement and land dispossession caused by the Colombian armed conflict. identifying the responsible armed groups, the main opponents, companies that are ordered to return properties in the land restitution processes.
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