Ex-combatants and entrepreneurs: 323 women advance their reincorporation process in the Caribbean


​Women are the protagonists of the reincorporation process. Photo: Soy Mujer Somos Cambio / Jorge Pachón Sáenz.

Cartagena, 03/08/2021 


Eugenia * is one of the women in the process of reincorporation in the Caribbean region. At age 33, Eugenia is a mother, a wife and a self-made businesswoman; with her knowledge she promotes a collective fish farming project in the department of Bolívar, as well as her own initiative for which she received a capital of 148 million as a winner of SENA's Fondo Emprender.

As part of the commemoration of International Women's Rights Day, the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN) recognizes 3,272 women who are advancing their reincorporation process throughout the country, consolidating their life projects in legality.

Of the 3,272 women in the process of reincorporation in Colombia, 323 are located on the Colombian Caribbean Coast. La Guajira (with 116 women) is the department with the highest female participation, followed by Cesar (64), Bolívar (62), Sucre (38), Atlántico (21), Córdoba (12) and Magdalena (10), and equivalent to 10% of the female ex-combatant population of the entire country. 

After believing in reconciliation, through second chances, today they are leading women, visionaries and open to constant learning processes. Such is the case of Eugenia, a person from Bolívar in the process of reincorporation, who proudly recounts her academic achievements and her path towards consolidating herself as an entrepreneur in her own right. 

From the moment she entered the reincorporation process with the accompaniment of (ARN), this ex-combatant has stood out for being a benchmark within the cooperative of which she is a part, in the department of Bolívar. At 33, she is the mother of two children, a wife and an entrepreneur, and today she shares her story of effort and empowerment. 

In 2019, Eugenia was chosen by vote as manager of Coomaser co-op, made up of 19 men and five women from the reincorporation process. She then decided to return that vote of confidence and the great responsibility placed in her hands by training to open new horizons in cooperativism and economic strengthening. 

For this reason, Eugenia began her studies in Integrated Management Systems with the assistance of ARN and the National Apprenticeship Service – SENA. Since then, Eugenia says she understood that her academic training would not only be a contribution to the co-op, but also to the future of her two children. 

“As soon as I started studying at SENA, as I progressed, I realized that I could put everything into practice in our co-op. So we organized ourselves and began to shape the possibility of carrying out a collective productive project" – Eugenia says.

And, indeed, this is how it happened: Coomaser co-op received the disbursement of a collective fish farming project through ARN, to benefit 24 people in the process of reincorporation in Bolivar.  This project focuses on the production and commercialization of red tilapia fish, and hopes to establish itself as a benchmark in Bolívar. 

Eugenia's aspirations did not stop there; after completing her training process in Integrated Management Systems, she participated and became the winner of a productive initiative through SENA's Fondo Emprender program, which granted her COP 148 million to consolidate herself as a true entrepreneur. In her case, she opted for the same line of fish farming and she is currently working on this personal dream of hers in addition from the collective project of her cooperative. She hopes to consolidate this undertaking for the sake of her future and to support her family. 

“My dream is to have a plant for the production and commercialization of top quality fish. For this reason, I want to set up a point of sale in addition to the fish farm property, so people can buy from the best fish market. The change reincorporation brought along for me has been very positive. I have trained myself, and have achieved a lot. This will be the future of my children. It is definitely true, as they say: when there is a will there's a way, and no obstacle is ever unsurmountable", she concludes. 

Eugenia is no longer the manager of her co-op due to multiple occupations. However, she continues to be part of the board of directors, and she continues to contribute with her knowledge and business leadership from her new position. 

ARN Director General Andrés Stapper Segrera explains that the entity carries out “actions aimed at eliminating stigmatization of women, reducing barriers, contributing to their autonomy, promoting their active participation and identifying specific needs to help improve their QoL and that of their families".

Name changed by request of the individual in the process of reincorporation*


Data of interest

  • ​Of the 323 women who are currently advancing their reincorporation process with the support of the ARN in the Colombian Caribbean, a total of 101 are engaged in productive projects. Of these, 11 women participate in collective projects and 61 in individual projects.
Created at 3/18/2021 9:18 PM by Adrian Mauricio Rojas Maldonado
Last modified at 3/18/2021 9:18 PM by Adrian Mauricio Rojas Maldonado