Rural Youth at Work in Colombia

Resilience, inspiration and innovation for rural youths, their organizations and communities are the most important results of the Jovenes Rurales project. This project of ICCO and Kerk In Actie, supported by the European Union, was executed in the Valley of Cauca and Chocó, both hit by the Colombian armed conflict.

Rural Youth at Work in Colombia

With the support of the project, the youths develop businesses and transform local resources and products, such as the production of textile coloring based on achiote, bio-cosmetic products and special coffees. The project supports new businesses in the production, provision of services and alliances among different sectors. It focusses on strengthening and improving the capacities and skills of rural youths.


We are proud of the results: 1003 youths, between 16 and 35 years old, have been trained to lead their rural businesses.

  • 345 youths have improved their income.
  • 355 youths have gotten a job.
  • 385 youths are implementing rural businesses. 61,6%of them are female.
  • 37 rural, youth-led businesses have been consolidated.
  • Initiatives in 16 value chains, among them: agro-food industries, gastronomy, tourism, dairy, TIC services and biodiversity.
  • The businesses and productive initiatives sell to: supermarkets, ecologic markets, hotels, restaurants, the academic sector and the public sector (selling some products to the school-food programs).

Personal stories


lorena cuesta

This project has given us technical council for adjusting the plant. With the management we obtained this plant for the purification of water that will allow us to improve the treatment of water for our products, which are water-based, and now they have more capacity.
Lorena Cuesta, member of Barule


Jaime Perea

I had many social problems, Here, I learned to make bags out of damagua (a natural plant), and how to crochet. I never thought that I would learn to handle the machines and the needle. Learning this means a lot, because later I can have my own company and I can keep on showing society that one can do good things.
Jaime Perea, young artisan.


diego castro

With the income from the passion fruit that I planted with this project, I have invested money and now I also grow beans and green pepper. I have also been able to integrate other youths because through the project I have benefited economically and have been able to employ other people.
Diego Castro, young producer.

carlos arias

We started to innovate the way we used to grow crops, fertilize and take care of the earth.  Before, we used to farm for farming sake, we did not know if a crop gave us an income. With these lessons we have learned to take the basis of the crops, how much we lose, what investment we need and how much we have left.
Carlos Arias, strawberry producer


As of 1st January 2021 ICCO has joined forces with Cordaid and continues as one organization under the name Cordaid.

ICCO’s international website will remain online for the time being and can be visited here or go to Cordaid: