Programas / Vigías Ambientales

Vigías ambientales 2014-2015 en ingles.

Translated by Sarah Jane Armstrong & Wyntra Jones within the initiative PerMondo. Sponsored by Mondo Agit, which offers voluntary translations from Spanish into English. Translation proofread by María Garza.




In 2014, ECOFONDO and the environment district department signed the third partnership agreement inwhich continuity was given to the process started with the corporation through the association agreement of 733, 2012. Aimed at developing social and environmental actions on the ground for the protection risk of the Rafael Uribe Uribe and Cuidad Bolivar localities.The formation of the environmental overseers’ process was geared towards actions that promote the reconstruction of the territory and of the social fabric, which in turn would result in the environmental recovery of the aforementioned areas that have been declared areas of soil protection by non-mitigated risks.

The objective of the Association Agreement was to have an Environmental overseer able to identify,propose, and lead the implementationof measures to protect and conserve natural resources by encouraging participation and institutional and community ownership of the localities.

The development process was developed in two phases which were carried out simultaneously:

  • The theoretical training phase

  • The practical training phase


This phase was developed through the implementation of three training modules:

  • Module I- Environmental

  • Module II-Risk Management

  • Module III- Psychosocial Support

Environmental module.

Objective: Contribute to environmental training overseers of the 1304 Association Convention of 2014 to improve management developed in the Rafael Uribe and the CiudadBolivar localities.


  • The overseers acquired knowledge on environmental issues such as management and conservation of biodiversity; participatory ecological restoration; handling and disposal of solid waste and debris;assembly and maintenance of landscape recovery.

  • On issues such as biodiversity, it was noted that there was an interest in different species of flora and fauna in the localities, and an inventory was created of these.

  • The overseers were made aware of issues concerning current environmental legislation and the competency of the environmental authority as well as the importance of such actions.

  • The topic that generates mayor concerns among the overseers was identified as related to the handling and disposal of debris, manifesting the urgency of performing these actions that incur the participation of the community to generate responsibility and awarenesstowards this problem.

  • As for landscape recovery, overseers became aware of the environmental importance of these activitiesfor theircommunities and the impact generated in social appropriation of the territory.

  • Appropriate methods for the development of vegetable gardens for household consumption in the localities of Rafael Uribe and the Ciudad Bolivar were disseminated, identifying factors such as access to small areas of land, looking for better food and better income for the family and the community.

  • With the development of this module, overseers identified the urgency and need to include the community as a fundamental piece of all processes developedas they concluded that this was the only way to make sustainable processes.

Risk Management module

Objective: Form environmental overseers for disaster risk management in the Rafael Uribe and Ciudad Bolivar sectors.


  • Overseers acquired knowledge in: types of disasters-causes and consequences; the reductionin disaster risk -prevention and mitigation; interaction between the disaster risk management area; first aid; and disaster management- recovery.

  • The workshops made participants aware in the care and preservation of the environment surroundingthe reduction of disaster risk, as these phenomena alter the process of economic and social development in which inhabitants are immersed, and on the other hand, it recognizes the value of the agreements for community participation.

  • A change in perception of the overseers in terms of economic, ecological and social environment was evident especially in relation to other people either within the community, their families and within the group of overseers, tending to avoid settling in high-risk areas (mainly by mass land wasteand flooding) and the importance of recovery efforts in areas affected by these phenomena.

  • We were able to expand and simplify the vision of individuals with regard to some concepts that were previously incomprehensible, such as the consequences ofdisasters that at the end, regardless of how they were caused, all produce negative consequences such as damages of life, property and environment.

Psychosocial Support module

Objective Promote the strengthening of emotionalskills, relational and ethical for the groups of environmentaloverseers, in such a way that their abilities as social leaders are strengthen: personal leadership, teamwork, self-regulation, and the increase in qualifications of their self-care and copingstrategies.

The topics discussed were:

  • Recognition: who we are and what we are waiting for toCO-BUILD anUS.

  • Learning to build bridges: communication skills

  • Managing my emotional world: management of emotions.

  • Put yourself in others’ shoes (a): empathy.

  • I recognize myself as coffee bean: identification and assessment of personal and others’ resources as well as the collective’s resources (personal and collective self-esteem)

  • My most valuable possession: ME, enriching adaptive coping strategies as a protective factor against consumerbehavior.

  • Our non-negotiable:identifying personal values and principles, co-construction of collective values and principles (relating to self-regulation)

  • Artisan of change.

  • Victim or protagonist of my life? Strengthening skills to assume responsibility of my own life.

  • Conqueror or co-constructor, strengthening skills to exercise creative and transformative leadership.

  • Reaping what we sow.



  • Overseers were able to change the level of relationships with peers and family coordinators. They recognized that today they have other references from which they can act in different situations.

  • In relation to their personal growth process, overseers expressed strengthening of their communication skills, tolerance, discipline, listening, and strength to face difficulties and overcome fears, self-confidence.

  • Through communication we achieved an ample space for criticism which allowed for higher levels of excellence.

  • Changes were established, perceiving to have overcome their fears, obtain a higher degree of self-acceptance, greater strength to create changes in certain relationships that had been assumed of submission, especially in thecase of women.

  • At an emotional level, greaterrecognition and validation both personal and by their peers as well as those who are significant in other settings, thanks to the changes they have made in theory relational patterns.

  • Progress was made on an ethical level, in their ability to recognize and take responsibility for the consequences and effects of their own actions on others.

  • An ethical dimension was built collectively, guiding values were defined and appropriated in their collective life: excellence, respect, solidarity, and honesty. These were the values that were more strongly raised.

  • The different processes of redefining experiences made in the course of the process, allowed to reassert themselves as people capable of overcoming adverse situations, to take charge of their own lives, thanks to the fact that they could see they had been able to do it in other times of his life, this transformed the victim narrative to that of the protagonist.

 Administrative Management of Organizations.

Workshops to provide basic tools for the development of community organizations or for-profit companies, depending on the overseer’s interest were carried out.

The Ciudad Bolivar locality group leaned towards the community organization which the training focused on through the following topics: knowledge of:nature, scope, responsibilities and rights acquired by a person when they become a part of a community organization  and review of the requirements for its structure.

The Rafael Uribe locality group was interested in for profit business structure, identifying as potential targets, creating a nursery or community garden.

The topics discussed were.

  • Identification of the business idea.

  • Definition of the benefits of proposed business.

  • Products to offer.

  • Identification of customers.

  • Value-added of its products.

  • Review of requirements to structure a Simplified Stock Company SAS.

  • Procedure and costs.

  • Legal requirements.


The results obtained by each of thecomponents is listed below:

MAINTENANCE OF VEGETATION COVERING. Efforts were directed to maintain and boost the recovery of vegetation cover as an essential component in the process of environmental recovery, of protected at risk land. In the case of the New Hope sector in the Rafeal Uribe locality, the development of vegetation covering established in previous agreements, has established optimal development levels towards the more evolved fields, which means less human intervention in maintenance activities such as planting, pruning, and fertilization. The reverse of this situation occurred in the Altos de la Estancia in Ciudad Bolivar locality; where given the extent of involvement of the vegetation cover, the development of important engineering works to mitigate risk and prevailing environmental conditions have hampered the recovery of the vegetation cover. Consequently, during the development of the agreement, the maintenance activity of vegetation coverage focused on the few scattered plant elements that exist in the polygon.

ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION OF CREEKS. In the Altos de la Estancia sector, the process of ecological restoration focused on hydrological corridors, since it was related to slopes affected by mass movements where water became the main triggering factor.Therefore, the process of ecological restoration developed during the term of the agreement, sought to help mitigate and improve the conditions of slope instability, through rehabilitation and conservation of vegetation cover hydrological corridors with vegetation of the area. To achieve this purpose, restoration modules were designed and established using vegetation according to the characteristics of the area, in terms of safety and environmental features that allow channeling and regulating water runoff, prevent and control the erosion process, reduce sedimentationrates to prevent waste saturation of irrigation channels, promote the development habitat for wildlife, improve resilience conditions to climate change and improving the landscape conditions of the area as well as the quality oflife of the surrounding population.In total, 111 ecological restoration models were implemented around streams in which2,065 trees were planted, additionally, 498 trees were planted which created a living fence in areas undergoing the restoration process.

In the Nueva Esperanza sector of the Rafael UribeUribe locality, the restoration process focused on a priority basis in different areas along the La QuebradaTheGuairita corridor, the only body of water in the area, in virtue that the corridor presents a satisfactory state of recovery and rehabilitation. It was done through 18 modules containing different floristic arrangements, slopes corresponding with thehigh Andean ecosystem that contained erosion, areas affected by forest fires and areas requiring floristic enrichment. Through this, the recovery of bodies of water as hosting elements for the territory was promoted to contribute to the reduction of vulnerabilities stemming from climate change, due to social and environmental appropriation, generating in addition the capacity for the population self-manage the environment and risks as an exercise of joint responsibility and safe and sustainable territoryoccupancy. In total, 3,360 trees were planted and implemented.

ADAPTION OF PROPERTIES. One of the biggest problems that characterize the protection of land at risk is being used as "garbage dumps". At the close of the agreement, more than 54,000 kilos of waste were collected; where the Altos de la Estancia sector with 45,990 kilos of waste is the site that requires more social work to reverse this situation.

The generation of debris from the demolition of homes that were part of the resettlement program presents an important decline as this indicates that the resettlement program of 1 and 2 stratum families located in areas of high non-mitigatable risk is at a standstill.

Landscape recovery. The construction and maintenance of gardens are a fundamental part in achieving the social environmental recovery of the area. Gardens are a linkingmechanism for thesurrounding neighborhood population within the polygon through participatory

activities surrounding gardening and construction of footpaths, promoting empowerment, territorial identity and the social cohesion of the sectors habitants.

It is the construction and maintenance of gardens with vegetable species that can fulfill various functions: ecological, ornamental, or aesthetic, recreational and of amusement. Appropriation of surfaces intended for free and comfortable pedestrian traffic, with an intended variety of purposes such as exercise, walk or rest; with the main objective being to improve environmental conditions in areas of the polygon with the largest public turnout, seeking to impact the wellbeing and quality of life of the user population. In total, 2 gardens were installed in the Ciudad Bolivar locality and 20 gardens were provided maintenance, 16 in Rafael Uribe Uribeand four in Ciudad Bolivar.

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIONSFOR PREVENTION AND MITIGATION. Environmental prevention andmitigation actions were geared to meet two main objectives: first, bodies of water free of debris, in order to avoid standstills and sedimentation of these and thus preventing damming that generate flooding that may affect the tranquility of the community or land stability. The second sought to maintain intervened areas free of exotic species, in order to avoid setting a condition of risk for forest fires, loss or reduction of the most significant vegetable species from an ecological point of view, the invasion of the floristic arrangements established as part of the ecological restorationprocess, deterioration of the natural conditions of the area, and greater technical and human resources to control invasive species. In total maintenance was performed on 7,151 lineal meters of: bodies of water, ditches and canals, and 3,200 invasive or exotic species were removed.

SUPPORT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT ANDMAINTENANCE OF HOME GARDENS. The support in the establishment and maintenance of vegetable gardens from the agreement, is one of the main initiatives in thefight against hunger that economically disadvantaged people around the polygon suffer. This activity includesnot only the availability and access to food, but also the use and continued availability of healthy, clean and safe for human consumption foods. In total, eightvegetable gardens were established and maintenance was performed on 12 more.

 SURVEILLANCE AGAINST ILLEGAL OCCUPATION. Surveillance against illegal occupation is an activity developed by environmental overseerthrough walkthroughs through susceptible areas that presented this kind of phenomenon. Their purpose was to identify actions aimed at enlargements, usually clandestinely, which in the future would allow them to build a new home and thus aspire to the District to include them in the resettlement program families databaseas a condition to vacate the area. Onceenvironmental overseersidentified a possible extension or the building of a new home, the overseers’ field coordinator, via email reported the news to thecompetent authorities. A total of 28 new occupancies were identified, the Caracoli sector, in the Ciudad Bolivar locality being the most affected with 27occupations.

SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESOUTREACH IN PROPER HANDLING AND SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL TO HIGH RISK AREA NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES. Increased awareness within communities sought to link the residents of surrounding neighborhoods to areas of intervention, in the transformation of a degraded space into an environmental and cultural landmark of the city, through participation in awareness days and ecological tours; promoting territorial identity and social cohesion of local residents.


Ecological walks. Two ecological walks were taken to areas of environmental importance. Sites visited were:

  • Parque Natural San Rafael. The walkwas held on February 13, 2015. The park is located in the town of Fusagasuga, in the village of Aguadita, 30 minutes from the city of Bogotá D.C.,throughSibaté. During the tour that lasted 5 hours, the overseersobserved several mountain rainforest ecosystems. They also learned strategies used by the residentsfor the conservation of the habitat and especially water sources. The tour included the use of a guide and paramedic.

  • Parque Ecologico Mata Redonda. The walkwas held on April 24, 2015. The park is located between 3,300 and 3,500 meters above sea level, on Verjón, TanavistádelPáramo de Cruz Verde land, east of the Cundinamarca section on the eastern mountain range, between Choachí, Ubaque and the Capital District. During the trip, the overseerscould observe the Paramo ecosystem and different sources and water reservoirs that benefit several the municipalities of Bogota and Cundinamarca. The tourincluded the use of a guide and paramedic.

  • Closing event. Closing. The closing event was held on May 7 in the auditorium of the Department of the DistrictEnvironment Secretary. During the event, videos developed by ECOFONDO were presented to account for the results of the partnership agreement and personal overseer achievements. The Rafael Uribe Uribe overseer group presented a video showing what they had learned and what they took away from the training. Meanwhile, the Ciudad Bolivar overseer group presented two theatrical plays, through which they presented dramatized situations that occurred in theirarea and showcased what the overseers had learned during the training. 

Now, the video presented at the closing event for the 1374 agreement “Environmental Overseers” – May 2015 




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