Bogotá, Colombia, September 14, 2022 – Led by the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), the Inter-congregational Network in Colombia met in Bogotá on September 12 and 13 to evaluate the first stage of the project that encompasses a comprehensive number of areas and initiatives for the wellbeing of migrants and their families. During the event, it was discussed the main experiences that led to identifying priorities for the second phase of this project. In addition, other points on the agenda included a reflection on the strengths, success, and challenges of the network. In this light, it embraced the main three characteristics of the inter-congregational work: three “C”s: CREATIVITY, CONCRECION, AND CREDIBILITY. An evaluation of the network’s App that will allow the referral of services between the congregations, a presentation on social innovation ecosystems, and a progress presentation on a local labor market study carried out by Universidad de los Andes, were also part of the agenda topics.
Participants of the meeting included the directors of each congregation, the congregations’ staff in every key area (legal support, psychosocial support, certification and entrepreneurship, and pastoral support), representatives of Universidad de los Andes, João Casali, co-founder IONICA, Specialist in Corporate Activism, New Economies and Socio-environmental Innovation; and the SIMN team.
“This meeting was a great space to bring together the four congregations to share experiences and learn from each other about the stories of migrants in their journeys and the special needs of people on the move. We are change makers doing what we have learned through decades of service. Our faith makes the difference for those that identify themselves by their faith, and those who feel protected, understood, and empowered in our centers. Key allies like the Global Solidarity Fund understand our value and leadership, and help us to continue expanding the positive impact in the lives of thousands of people every year,” stated Sharon Granados, Development Associate of SIMN.
The Inter-Congregational Network Colombia is a network founded by four Catholic congregations of women and men with services for migrants, refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking. They have begun to work together in Colombia as an inter-congregational network, generating a social innovation initiative. By working together, with the support of the Global Solidarity Fund and the leadership of the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), the four congregations can broaden their reach and deepen their impact. From January to September 2022, they supported more than six thousand Venezuelan migrants and Colombians in vulnerable conditions in several cities.
Through decades of experience around the world, Scalabrinian priests, lay collaborators, and partners in the field have brought knowledge and leadership to expand a platform for social innovation in Colombia, making an impact not just locally, but internationally.