The Columbian Agency for Reintegration has signed an agreement with Bancamía to work together to help demobilized combatants and their families in the process of reintegration so they can access financial services, financial training, support and microcredits for their business units. The aim is to enable them to improve their situation and realize their plans for their future life as law-abiding members of society.
Ex-combatants reentering civilian life suffer a high degree of social stigmatization, but the work of institutions like Bancamía show that the business and financial sector is increasingly opening its doors to people looking for a second chance as law-abiding members of society. “Bancamía is committed to supporting reintegrated individuals and creating well-being for them and their families by reinforcing their productive units” says María Mercedes Gómez, executive president of Bancamía.
Being given access to financial products –which some companies deny to anyone who has ever belonged to an illegal armed group–, allows people to overcome their condition of vulnerability while fostering the values of lawfulness and trust. “Giving opportunities to ex-combatants means closing a cycle of violence. A person who is given opportunities to get ahead within a law-abiding society will almost certainly never think of picking up a weapon again”, says Joshua Mitrotti, general director of the Colombian Agency for Reintegration.
The framework of the agreement between the Colombian Agency for Reintegration and Bancamía covers access to products and training in financial matters for ex-combatants and their families at the national level, supported by the Colombian Agency for Reintegration, the body charged with developing the reintegration roadmap, the mechanism to assist ex-combatants in their return to civilian society.
The system of microcredits will make it easier for anyone in the process of reintegration who has a productive project underway to access lines of funding for small amounts and allow them to meet the needs of their existing business units. This will generate growth and reinforce the enterprises of people who are excluded from the traditional financial system.
Since 2016, Bancamía, in alliance with the Corporación Mundial de la Mujer Colombiana (World Woman’s Corporation-Colombia), has been supporting the process of Colombian reintegration through workshops to reinforce financial literacy, vocational exploration, and the design and formulation of business plans for ex-combatants in regions such as Meta, Nariño, Casanare, Antioquia and Cesar.