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Clean Colombia sister ecology group 3/2007


New Sydney ecology project: Donations to Columbian grassroots ecology group

Ecology action is proud to announce we have contributed a total of $2,700 Australian so far to a Columbian environmental civil society organisation called A Limpiar Columbia (FuLimCol for short) via international money transfer.
Their blurb is outlined below and frankly is quite inspiring. Many thanks to Amparo for her invaluable interpreter (Spanish) and cultural bridging work, as well as expertise in identifying this incredibly worthwhile and high integrity, grassroots environmental organisation from a poor part of the world.
This continues a rather lovely tradition at eas of sending donations to South American grassroots organisers, the last one being $15,000 over 2 years to Allianza Aysen in Patagonia Chile, a successful project to protect this largely pristine complex of rivers, fjords, mountains, lakes, original forest and all who depend on them from a massive hydro and Aluminium smelter project. All credit to the local Chilean project officers and broad coaliton of civil society, that eas supported in a small and timely way.



We would be very happy to share some basic lessons on how a gringo group like ours can make a positive and respectful contribution to other citizens of this small planet. Surprising how simple it is really once some basic principles are in place like:

- let the locals do it their way
- just give them the money direct
- get verification of the integrity of the recipient via other local independent credible referees
- do use an experienced local interperter

The following is provided by Paulina from Columbia via our interpreter Amparo based here in Sydney:

Environmental Education Programme by FuLimCol

The donations by Ecology Action will be used in a revegetation program which involves the creation of wildlife corridors by planting endangered plant species of the area.  This programme will involve the children educational institution Francisco Miranda of the town La Buitrera (30 mins distance from the city of Palmira, Valle del Cauca). They will be trained in all aspects of seed propagation and planting as well as the purpose of the programme.

The children will be involved in building the basic structure of the nursery, to propagate and then planting of seedlings.

The building of the nursery for this specific programme will require materials such as a wire fence to enclose the nursery and net to build the tunnel for the seed trays and seedlings, seed raising mix and potting mix, the purchase of seeds etc.

In order to educate the local community on the importance of this programme as well as to get their practical support, FuLimCol will hold information workshops, produce flyers to promote the programme and didactic materials for the workshops.

Additional information:

The Foundation Clean Up Colombia (FuLimCol), has its headquarter in Palmira, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

FuLimCol has its beginnings as an ecological committee back in 1998. Since its inception FuLimCol has involved around 70 institutions from the educational field. They have been active participants of talks, workshops, and in actions such as rubbish collection at different sites of the city.

FuLimCol also participates in forums and seminars organized by other local NGO’s.

FuLimCol moved from an ecological committee to a foundation in 2000 taking the name of Clean Up Colombia. The long term plan is to implement the foundation’s objectives all over the country and to bring a change in behaviour in the whole Colombian community, by creating awareness and providing the practical knowledge and skills for the community to manage their solid waste problem from its source. As well, part of the aims of FuLimCol is to create awareness in regard to conservation and restoration of the natural environment and its natural resources.

The most important works done by FuLimCol so far includes:


Recuperation of urban green zones and collection of solid waste and debris in the following suburbs: Chapinero, Fatima and at the entrance of the city where the planting of local indigenous palms which are the symbol of the city took place.

This campaign involved 2,260 volunteers from educational institutions, The Local Public Works Secretariat, Engineers from the Agustin Codazzi Army barracks, National Police and the Local Government Cleaning Department.


Recuperation of Parque Lineal  3km (Lineal Park)

A seven month awareness campaign was organised by FuLimCol on solid waste management.  The campaign included workshops for the citizens and educational institutions living along the Park. As well, didactic flyers were printed and distributed, a video about the importance of the park to the city was made and it was shown on the local TV channel many times during the campaign. Promotion was conducted through the local TV and Radio finishing the campaign with a clean up action which involved 22 educational institutions, The Public Works Secretariat, Engineers from Agustin Codazzi Army barracks, National Police and the Local Government Waste Department. 1,800 medium size bags of waste were collected at the end of the campaign.

Let’s Save our Rivers

One-year awareness programme regarding the state of the local rivers and waterways, designed and executed by FuLimCol, and the students of Santiago University, Cali, campus Palmira. The programme targeted the citizens of Amaime and El Placer villages. A rubbish pick up action was chosen to close the programme and it covered 13km of Amaime River. This programme attracted the participation of students from Santiago University, National Police, Red Cross, The Civil Defence Dept, citizens of Amaime and El Placer and community groups working in the area.

Soon after, the same project took place in La Buitrera village, attracting support from the local educational institutions in the recuperation of Agua Clara River and 13 km reforestation of the basin.

 My Neighbourhood

A pilot project was running for six years in four blocks out of 21 blocks that makes the Obrero suburb. The results were excellent and encouraged the Local Government to adopt it as a model for the whole city and to be part of the Solid Waste Integral Plan (PGIRS in Spanish), which is a compulsory program to be implemented in all the cities and towns around Colombia.

My Neighbourhood project was officially launched at the Obrero suburb situated in the city metropolitan area and since it has been running for six years. The project will be used as a model for the whole city.

My Neighbourhood was chosen by the Local Government to be used as a model to implement the Solid Waste Integral Plan (PGIRS in Spanish)

This project aims to promote the culture of no rubbish as well as the appropriate management of solid waste from its source. This process will be achieved by running workshops involving in the first stage ecological groups of educational institutions working in the selected neighbourhood, followed by an awareness programme targeting the members of the community through didactic material, posters, flyers and bags.

The project includes activities such as quantification and classification of solid waste generated in the selected neighbourhood where the project is running. These procedures will assist in the analysis of the domestic solid waste and the waste collected in the streets of the selected neighbourhood.

Other aspects of the project aims to diffuse in the community the natural approach regarding the proper management of solid waste, as well as the advantages of refusing, reusing and recycling as basic concepts of sustainability.

It is vital for the project to impart practical training on solid waste classification in each household. This process will assist by getting the rescue resources ready for collection, facilitating the work done by recycling collectors.

It is also very important for the success of the project to train the collectors of recyclable material, as this will assist in dignifying the concept of recycling and the work done by the collectors. As well, this key factor of the project will help by generating employment in the local community.



Monday, 26 March 2007
Update from sister group A Limpiar Columbia wetland project
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: ecology

We received this email yesterday from our Spanish translator based here regarding our sister group in South America named above which translates as Clean Up Columbia. We have donated Aust$2,700 to this group in the last 12 months or so for which we feel very proud given the useful exchange rate for them. More here: Clean Columbia help 1/06

Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2007 9:30 AM
Subject: Timbiki Wetland

Hola Tom,
I know that your mind and hands are full with elections and so much happening at the moment, there is always something happening, but this time is crucial, it is probably because the future of the planet is at stake. I find it frustrating that it seems as if the majority of people don't understand it, and that to lessen our impact on what is sustaining us, the natural environment, can't be business as usual.

Anyway, Paulina sent another report of her activities in restoring the Wetland, I even spoke to her on the phone this week. The situation as you know it is not better there, the group is fighting against big influencing landlords and multinationals, so from death threats, to bad publicity, you name it, they are going ahead with the plan to restore and recuperate the wetland. The area is dominated by sugar cane plantations which have destroyed the rivers and wetlands, so the small farmers have been left without water and their livelihood, so what they are doing now is fighting back to restore the area and praying for rain.

I will translate the report, it is around two to three pages and will send it soon, in the meantime I am forwarding the photographs, including wetland, members of the Foundation, farmers and local school students whom they are trying to educate and get them and their families on the project's side.
My arm and hand have improved a lot, getting better everyday, however, it is taking a long time to recover, and might take a year to get back the full strength, with patience and perseverance all we get there!
Take care and all the best
[Pictures with the email update follow]


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