The pandemic has not been the only cause of pain and uncertainty in the Colombian islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina in the last year. In November 2020, the strongest hurricane to hit Colombian territory arrived on the north coast of the country: Hurricane “Iota”. This storm suddenly went from category 2 to category 5, which caused damage to 98% of the islands’ infrastructure and where the majority of the population – approximately 6,000 people – were affected. This storm generated catastrophic impacts on the islanders, especially because about 40% of the inhabitants had to move to different areas of the country due to the lack of shelter, health services, education, among others. Despite the social and economic impacts, the hurricane affected an important part of the island’s ecosystem and social fabric, which means that its reconstruction requires comprehensive efforts to guarantee its recovery.
To meet this objective, different civil society organizations decided to work together and join forces to give meaning to an initiative called “Stand Up Providencia Renace”. The objective is to promote the reconstruction of housing and social and community infrastructure in a sustainable and comprehensive manner with the support of the community of Providencia and Santa Catalina. This initiative is made up of Give to Colombia, Tamarin Foundation, Corporación Antioquia Presente and the FiProvidence support network. In December 2020, Stand Up Providencia decided to articulate and ally itself with 16 other civil society organizations that also carry out different activities in the territory, originating the great alliance “Back Better Together”, which serves as a collective vehicle to expand levels of impact
In that order, Stand Up Providencia identified that it could contribute to the integral reconstruction of the island through the construction of community centers that will serve as a space for education, the recovery of the social fabric and as a safe place where the population can be protected from future natural disasters. Similarly, the reconstruction and provision of native inns has been proposed since these are family homes and at the same time productive projects since they generate income through tourism by inviting foreigners to stay with them in order to learn about their traditions and their Raizal culture.
The Back Better Together joint has worked under 5 lines of action that include:
From Stand Up Providencia Renace, we articulate and manage the last two objectives mentioned above through the enormous effort of Colombians and foreigners who have contributed their grain of sand to the sustainable reconstruction of the islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina. In order to restore decent conditions for the raizales, it is essential to have more monetary contributions to be able to impact many more families on the island who lost everything due to Hurricane Iota. That is why we want to invite you to be part of this cause in order to give a message of hope to Providencia and Santa Catalina.
Thanks to you, hope flourishes and Providence blooms.