Social and Labor Reconversion Program
In Colombia, the illicit sale of fuel within departments located in Border Areas has produced social and economic problems such as the deterioration of public finances and has negatively impacted formal productive activities in these areas. On the other hand, this activity also represents a risk to the health and life of those involved as well as the entire community.
For this reason, since 2004 Ecopetrol has signed an agreement with the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic, the Fund of Investment for Peace and the Catatumbo Foundation for the social and labor reconversion of the population dedicated to the illicit distribution, transportation and sale of fuel in the border regions of the departments of Norte de Santander, La Guajira, Arauca, Vichada and Guainía. The program is currently headed by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, complying with Law 1430 of 2010, and has expanded to the departments of Nariño and, in the near future, Cesar.
The Social and Labor Reconversion Program is a social and institutional strategy focused on providing attention to vulnerable populations involved in the illicit sale of fuel in border departments. The program is headed by the Ministry of Mines and Energy in a partnership with governors, mayors, SENA, Ecopetrol and public organizations. The FUNDESACT Foundation is the program operator in different regions of the country.
The objective of this program is to provide alternatives that will contribute to changing occupational activities by carrying out training in new knowledge, abilities, competences, skills and new forms of generating income, including addressing social components as an essential part of promoting a change of the lifestyle for those involved in an illegal and risky activity.
Its purpose is to increase awareness within group of informal fuel vendors concerning the risks of this activity. It includes spreading information about the Social and Labor Reconversion program to show the benefits of changing activities and attitudes as part of their lifetime project. It will also act as an intermediary with regional and institutional entities in order to obtain support for social actions involving the target population.
This corresponds to the occupational guidance and lifetime project training phase, including technical training concerning the initiative that is going to be carried out as well as the formulation of a business plan. During this phase, the beneficiary will receive support consisting of the necessary materials.
The Social and Labor Reconversion Program has access to a Credit Fund and seed capital, which may be used by entrepreneurs to put their business in motion. Beneficiaries can receive resources once they have concluded the SENA training process, obtaining certification, and after having presented their business plan.
Consists of professional advice and support for perfecting and implementing the business plan, including legal support, accounting and tax guidance for the formalization of a productive unit.
Results to December 2013
After reconverting over 3.000 informal gasoline vendors to other productive activities in the departments of Norte de Santander, La Guajira, Arauca, Vichada, Guainía and Nariño, a group of regions where work will continue in order to promote and strengthen the productive projects for the sake of reducing the activities of illegal fuel trade, the Social and Labor Reconversion Program will reach the Department of Cesar, specifically the municipality of La Paz, aiming to transform the way of life and economic activity of the population.