Cooperation and Chocolate: The Story of One Colombian Community’s Quest for Peace

A community in Columbia builds a community-based economy in their quest for peace. After many years of war, a group disengages from the war, and decide to create a community of peace. The community promises to disengage completely from any aspects of the war, and in return, they asked to be left alone. It focuses on planting plants and selling its products. Interestingly, the community used a community-based economic model whereby each member took part in the planting, harvesting, selling, and budgeting for the funds from sales. In their quest for peace, the community created an egalitarian economic model.

Image by Yes! Magazine

The main outcomes were peace, prevention of life lost through war, and economic growth. The economic model was participatory in which the community was engaged in all the processes and the benefits. There were also unintended consequences such as the greening of the environment through the planting of more cocoa trees, and the learning of the skills of the economic project by new/younger members as they became engaged in the process.

It is possible the community learned the power of cooperation, as evidenced by the success of their cocoa business. it is possible there was a reduction in inequality due to using a community-based economic model as opposed to the capitalistic one. In this model, every member of the community is involved in the decision making. Also, the funds were used as the community saw fit, suggesting that the needs of all were considered. There is also the lesson of using the community resources-skills, expertise, and wisdom in problem-solving. Lastly, the project was inexpensive because the community was the key resource.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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