Compromiso Valle, a pact for the present and future of our region


Friday, 15 October 2021


Alvaralice Foundation

By: Harold Eder Garcés, President of the Manuelita Business Group

The protests that took place in Colombia between April and June of this year created a turning point in the efforts to strengthen the business and social fabric in the Valle del Cauca region.  Prior to this upheaval, local businesses and not-for-profit organizations had a history of developing their own social programs seeking to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the area. This was usually done independently from each other, according to their own focus areas and priorities identified in accordance with their stakeholders.  Even though we can say there have been advances in the economic, social and environmental areas, today we recognize the need of working together and uniting our efforts to help the youth of the Valle del Cauca who want to see more and better opportunities for themselves.

Compromiso Valle is an initiative led by Propacífico (a not-for profit organization set up by the private sector to promote local development) that intends to bring together the efforts of businesses of all sizes, regional and local governments, and civil society. Working on six lines of action, Compromiso Valle seeks to transform the social and economic dynamics of the most vulnerable population in seven municipalities in the Valle del Cauca: Cali, Buenaventura, Yumbo, Palmira, Jamundí, Candelaria, and Buga.

The project’s objectives are urban peace, violence prevention, reconciliation, and economic and social inclusion. These are the issues identified by the young people that expressed dissatisfaction with their current situation and their lack of opportunities. This is an unprecedented initiative that, based on active listening to the needs of the community, seeks to collectively find solutions.

In accordance with our higher purpose of generating progress and well-being, we, the Manuelita Group, joined this initiative, focusing on the line of action, “Transforming Life Projects”, in the city of Palmira, where our company was born 157 years ago.

We are pleased to join this effort, in alliance with the Mayor´s Office of Palmira, where we aim to improve the lives of 350 youths through life-skills training, psychosocial support, job training and employability programs, and retribution to their community through restorative activities like art and sports.

Though each ally has a particular strength and line of action, all of us have the same objective: to help improve the opportunities and quality of life of young people in the Valle del Cauca.


A long-term initiative

Compromiso Valle should turn into a long-term initiative rather than a short-term project. This opportunity that we, businessmen, have had to get together, be able to approach and listen to young people, and support them with more and better opportunities, must remain and be consolidated. Initially, the project will have an 18 months duration but our objective should be to extend that timeframe as we see the positive impact on the communities and as we can adapt and improve its programs to promote equitable development in the region.

To make all of this possible, the private sector has to work alongside the local governments to serve the needs of the municipalities in the Valle del Cauca with efficiency and transparency. It is essential that the public sector utilize the taxes that all Colombians pay more effectively, and that the private sector accompanies this process. It is also important that young people take ownership of the initiatives and take advantage of the training and upskilling opportunities, committing to and persevering in the programs.

The business sector is adept at generating opportunities and promoting new ventures. We plan on connecting the training of the beneficiaries with the various companies’ needs to fill the existing employment gap.

In doing so, we hope that Compromiso Valle will be a path full of great possibilities for the youth of the Valle del Cauca, re-establishing their trust in the present and future of our region and strengthening the social fabric in order to achieve a better tomorrow for everyone.

Harold Eder has been Manuelita’s president since 2008.

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