The Ford Foundation has opened an office in Bogotá and will be expanding its outreach and development efforts in Colombia and the wider Andean region now that the government has signed a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Specifically, the non-profit NGO will work to improve transparency in the oil and mining sectors and how they interact with local communities. This includes a distinct focus on helping ensure rights and political participation for indigenous Colombians and Afro-Colombians during the post-conflict period, says the New York-based organization.
Photo: Javier Ciurlizza, the Andean regional director of the Ford Foundation. (Credit: Ford Foundation)
“While Colombia is one of the few countries in the region with sound macroeconomic management and strong growth, economic prosperity has not benefitted all Colombians,” wrote Javier Ciurlizza, the foundation’s Andean regional director, when announcing the new office. “For example, job prospects for Afro-Colombians have been particularly challenging and it is disproportionately harder for an indigenous child in Colombia to access quality schools compared to a middle class child.
“Colombia’s public services have been neglected and a result, citizens have to heavily rely on the private sector to deliver critical public goods and services like education. Colombia must focus on strengthening its public services and ensuring that economic growth benefits all Colombians, including minority, low-income, and rural residents.”
The Ford Foundation is not new to Colombia. Dating back to the 1960s, it put one of its “first outposts” in Latin America in the nation’s capital. It helped finance the launch of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Cali, for example, and has worked with the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá on programs for Afro-Colombians. Its new office is located at Calle 95 No. 14-45 in Bogotá.
The Ford Foundation was founded in 1936 to promote equality, social justice, and development. As one of the largest philanthropical organizations in the world, it now manages a $12 billion USD endowment that funds programs everywhere from China and Eastern Africa to the Middle East and the United States. In Latin America, it also maintains offices in Brazil and Mexico.