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Dispatch from: KIT Institute’s Hub in Colombia

By Sandra Quintero, Team Lead for KIT Institute’s Colombia Hub

In 2023, KIT Institute’s Gender team, in collaboration with the Global Health and Sustainable Economic Development teams, launched a new hub in Colombia.

The time is ripe for such a development; Colombia’s government is actively pursuing inclusive policies and is keen to make Colombia a leader in the global fight against climate change. To fortify these efforts, a delegation of the Institute’s experts, Rebecca Hallin, Ingrid Zuleta, and Hannah Kabelka, recently joined me in Bogota to solidify our existing partnerships and engage with potential partners. Here are some highlights from the trip!

Strengthening ties

One of the biggest highlights of the trip was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the University El Bosque in the presence of the University’s President (Rector) and representatives of the Dutch Embassy. This partnership sets the stage for the development of a short course on Gender and Monitoring, Evaluating, and Learning (MEL) with the University.

“We hope that it will be the beginning of a robust relationship with many joint projects and opportunities,” said Johan Sebastián Cruz Ramírez of the University. 

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the University El Bosque
Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the University El Bosque

Recognising partnerships as integral to our work, we made extensive efforts to meet with existing partners like Profamilia and ARN (National Agency for Reintegration and Normalisation).  Profamilia sought our support them with their process of integrating a Gender Transformative Approach (GTA) into their MEL framework work for programme design. We delivered the first workshop in March 2024. Our collaboration with ARN commenced in 2023 and we anticipate concrete actions to support gender integration in the agency.

Another noteworthy collaboration is our ongoing cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Technology. During our meeting with Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Maria Camila Diaz, and her team there was a keen interest in our expertise, particularly around our monitoring and evaluation expertise, and feminist MEL using gender perspectives specifically. We are currently developing a proposal to assist the Ministry in developing a MEL system integrating a GTA, with their ‘Program Orquídeas’ as a pilot.  Several working sessions have transpired, and a draft of the proposal has been shared with the Ministry.

In addition to these meetings, my colleague Ingrid also conducted a successful workshop on grant proposal management at ICESI University. 

A warm welcome

We aspire to broaden our network and the reach of our work. To this end, we met with representatives from organisations we haven’t worked with before in the region, like the UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, and the Javeriana University in Cali. 

We were also delighted to host our first meeting with Los Andes University. “We are always happily surprised by the different actions carried out by wonderful people around the world towards our common objective of the well-being of others. Many thanks to KIT for trust in the Universidad de Los Andes and our commitment to generating opportunities for talent and sustainability. It’s time for us to join forces and enhance the impact on society with collaborative and complementary work,” said Hamilton Lopez Caro from the University.

Lastly, we engaged with the new Dutch Ambassador, Reina Buijs, who has previously collaborated with us and holds KIT in high esteem. The Colombian Embassy has been a steadfast ally. They also support Land at Scale, a project where KIT coordinates the knowledge management component. The Ambassador warmly welcomed KIT’s Colombia Hub, affirming our ongoing collaboration with the Embassy.

Partnerships for a more equal society

These partnerships signify a significant stride in KIT’s mission to enhance the impact of development initiatives in Colombia and Latin America. The partners mentioned above represent government, academia, and the private sector in different areas of our work. We’re very pleased to be recognised as a partner (existing and potential) by like-minded organisations with the capacity to shape theory and policy in Colombia and the region towards greater societal equity. 

If you are based in Colombia or the region and are interested in exploring potential collaborations, please feel free to reach out to me at: s.quintero@kit.nl.

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