San Rafael, Ovejas, Sucre — Colombia
A.P.I.A.S- Association of agro-industrial producers of San Rafael
Production and marketing of processed dairy products
Area — Women's empowerment
Beneficiaries — 64 families
APIAS was founded in 2018 in the wake of the signing of the Peace Accords. It brings together 64 families -50% of families are represented by a woman – victims of armed conflict or ex Freedom fighters wishing to reintegrate into civilian life. It benefits around 320 people of the commmunity. APIAS supports its members in the marketing of milk and the artisanal production of cheese and apiculture.
Thanks to their to their dynamism, the organization succeeded in mobilizing support and donations for the development of a small industrial cheese factory. Land and equipment have been obtained but the lack of an adequate space and respecting sanitary standards paralyzed the progress of the project. In the meantime, the women receive training on how to improve their dairy production, artisanal cheese production and on the management and participation in the organization. APIAS therefore obtained the support of Give a Hand in order to complete the construction of new premises allowing housing of the industrial cheese and milk products, plus procure a cooler and deepen the technical training for all participants. APIAS plans to process 1000 liters of milk per day, or 125 kilos of cheese. The income generated by this new processing activity will benefit the members of the cooperative and improve food intake throughout the community.
Partnership Give a Hand and APIAS, in Sucre department, Colombia
APIAS is a young association of producers driven by a strong desire to improve the living conditions of its members and to contribute to the restoration of peace in this region of Colombia. This is the first partnership experience between Give a Hand and APIAS. Much hope is placed in this inspiring initiative, which will mark the beginning of a collaboration rich in lessons and learning.
The Association works mainly in the sectors of agri-food production and processing – dairy and artisanal cheese production, beekeeping, social entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment.
As the legal representative of A.P.I.A.S, Oswaldo Martinez is a veteran of an organization that wants to transform his country into a more just and egalitarian society. In order to reintegrate into civilian life and contribute to the reconstruction of the social fabric that was destroyed during the years of conflict, he initiated with A.P.I.A.S this project in connection to with cattle breeding and dairy processing which greatly helps the women of the community.