Embera Katío, is an indigenous community based in Tierralta, Cordoba, a region in Colombia that has been at the heart of several of Colombia's social and political conflicts, often in the crossfire between the guerrillas and the paramilitaries. They have been living in this town for since 2003 after they were displaced by the conflicts between armed groups. In 2014 they formed a cooperative project called Ebera Neka within the framework of the Global Pact of Corporate Social Responsibility of Urrá S.A. ESP., to ensure the economy for indigenous families and to preserve the artisanal tradition of the communities.
The decorative panels or ‘molas’ that the Embera Katío create are traditionally incorporated as part of women's attire and are designed to use contrasting colours inspired by the strength of nature and its cosmology. These drawings form part of their beliefs and their culture. For the designs used on the masks, they have chosen to feature symbols used by the Jaibaná (their traditional doctor) to treat diseases. These symbols are also used in the face painting of women when they go to a celebration after a patient has been healed.
Ciro Gómez is a former combatant of the FARC and one of thousands of demobilized members now working to reintegrate into society. Struggling to find employment, Ciro decided to learn a new trade and in 2005, with the aid of the "Corporacion Mundial de la Mujer Colombia - CMMC" he established his own manufacturing company where he now employs 17 people. On the production of the Peace Masks, Ciro Gómez is working with Todos Ponen, a project created by fashion designer Maria Luisa Ortiz, centred on bringing communities together to work peacefully, in hand with CMMC, establishing sustainable livelihoods through fair trade; integrating the value chain through a circular economy model.
PEACE MASK PROJECT
The Peace Masks Project aims to combat the shared threat of COVID-19 and provide livelihoods to those living and working in conflict affected areas. The project forms part of a larger effort by the Peace Dividend Initiative to help ease tensions in conflict-affected areas by identifying and facilitating key peace-supporting economic opportunities and encouraging cooperation.
Peace Masks not only provide livelihoods for communities affected by conflict and violence, but weave peace into the fabric of these fragile communities by connecting them in a productive process that boosts co-existence and reconciliation and helps soothe grievances.
For this project, PDI has partnered with ISHKAR, who sell to an international market, building “peace value chains” and delivering livelihoods to at risk populations.