U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality
In January 2010, the United States and Colombia signed the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality. The Action Plan recognizes the important contributions of African-descendent and indigenous peoples and seeks to elevate recognition of their cultures in both countries. The Action Plan focuses on sharing best practices and implementing programs to address social barriers that affect Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities.
Priority areas for Action Plan programs include:
- Greater access to education, employment, economic opportunities, and cultural preservation;
- Increased recognition of their culture, traditional knowledge, and contributions to their respective societies; and
- Integration of the histories of these communities as part of the national education curriculum.
U.S.-Colombia Joint Action Plan Special Projects and Partnerships
Women Entrepreneurs Network
In 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, as part of the Department of State’s Pathways to Prosperity launched a pilot project in support of 50 Afro-Colombian and indigenous women entrepreneurs in Buenaventura. In conjunction with the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality, the Pathways Women’s Entrepreneur Mentoring Network will expand to Tumaco, one of the four principal focus areas for the Embassy’s Colombia Strategic Development Initiative (CSDI). The U.S. Embassy will partner with local NGO Atenea Inclusión & Desarrollo to facilitate a year-long entrepreneurial training program for 25 Afro-Colombian business owners in Tumaco in the gastronomical and tourism sectors. In addition to providing training in accounting, marketing, and leadership, the grant will provide Afro-Colombian entrepreneurs with opportunities to showcase their products and services as well as expand their market access.
Equal Employment Opportunity Initiative
In October 2010 Deputy Secretary Steinberg and Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. Gabriel Silva launched the Equal Employment Opportunity Initiative led by the Colombian-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Bogota and the Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF). USAID and State will coordinate support for Amcham member companies that signed a declaration to eliminate discrimination, promote diversity, and advance best practices that promote equal employment opportunities. Companies include: Price Waterhouse Cooper, Baker McKenzie, Kimberly Clark, Xerox, Proctor and Gamble, Citibank, Good Year and Royal Hotels.
Fortifying and Reinforcing English Skills for Teachers Programs (FOREST) – Quibdo & Medellin
FOREST is a two year program which aims to improve the English language competence as well as the professional development of elementary and high school Afro-Colombian educators, whose English levels are at a beginner level, for the benefit of their students.
College Horizons – Buenaventura
The College Horizons Program provides two years of English instruction and standardized testing preparation for Afro Colombian high school students to help them best prepare for applying and admission to U.S. universities.