Farmer-led education on the Colombian andes: escuelas campesinas de agroecologia as a social learning approach for post-conflict reconstruction
Giovanna Chavez-Miguel1, Michelle Bonatti1, Álvaro Acevedo-Osorio2, Stefan Sieber1, Katharina Löhr1
1Leibniz Centre for Agric. Landscape Res. (ZALF), Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries (SUSLand), Germany
In Colombia, nearly six decades of war have devastated the countryside, inducing land-related issues that perpetuate marginalisation of rural people. The 2016 Peace Agreement and the Integral Rural Reform offer new prospects of peace, yet reconstruction of the countryside requires broad participation of rural communities. The limited consideration of family farmers in rural processes, along with limited representation of their interests in national development plans, constrains their contributions in the socio-economic restoration of rural areas. Social movements advance agroecology in their propositional work as a framework for guiding intentional collective processes of socio-ecological transformation. Agroecology is an integrated approach for territorial management that applies contextualized ecological farming practices, which go in line with the ecosystems and traditions of rural territories. Escuelas Campesinas de Agroecología, i.e., Agroecology peasant schools, are farmer-led formative initiatives that emerge around productive, market and political processes aimed at scaling up agroecology by developing new knowledge and learning systems. By means of a systematisation of experiences from the Colombian Andes, this qualitative study investigates the potentialities of farmer-led agroecological education as a social learning strategy for empowering farmer communities and confronting current post-conflict challenges. The work of ECAs is analysed in relation to social learning theories, while the different pedagogies are scrutinized based on three identity frameworks – peasant, indigenous and proletarian. Results show that the context-specific approaches of ECAs enable communities to integrate diverse epistemological knowledge into collective learning systems and move it to a broader social context through social networks. We argue that ECAs represent a sustainable approach for transforming post-war environments from the grassroots level while facilitating the achievement of the post-agreement peacebuilding goals.
Keywords: Family farming, popular education, social movements, socio-ecological transformations
Contact Address: Giovanna Chavez-Miguel, Leibniz Centre for Agric. Landscape Res. (ZALF), Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries (SUSLand), Eberswalder Straße 84, Müncheberg, Germany, e-mail: Giovanna.Chavez-Miguelzalf.de