|Christopher M Hays, Forced Migration Review, June 2018
In Colombia, guerrilla organizations, paramilitary groups, drug cartels, and local mafia and gangs have a dramatic impact on the markets, local economies, and livelihoods of displaced communities. Actors working on economic development with displaced populations have reported direct and indirect collaboration with these groups, on behalf of internally displaced persons (IDPs), impeding efforts to boost economic opportunities through income-generating activities and the pursuit of formal employment.
Through interviews with community leaders and NGO workers across Colombia, this study aimed to unpack how and why many displaced individuals collaborate with armed groups and criminal organizations.
The findings were multi-fold – from fear and intimidation, to economic incentives, to feelings of abandonment by the State and armed groups and organized criminal entities filling that void, to reactions to violence perpetrated against them by opposing parties.
The multiplicity of factors at play encouraging displaced persons to collaborate with armed groups or criminal organization requires the engagement of actors across various sectors and disciplines to address the underlying issues and work in pursuit of economic (and protection) outcomes. The article concludes that as economic calculations are only one aspect of why IDPs may choose to support or assist criminal entities, therefore, efforts to disincentivize collaboration with criminal groups need to take account of other factors likely to be beyond the scope of a typical economic development organization, ultimately necessitating a Design for Contribution approach.
Please find the full article here.