Our Cerro Matoso team and local community members recently got together to acknowledge eight years of working together in harmony. Neighbours from eight ethnic communities, including Colombian Indigenous and Afro Colombian, joined our people on site to celebrate how open dialogue and collaboration had helped build strong relationships and a better quality of life for local families.
Speaking at the event, Cerro Matoso Vice President Operations, Ricardo Gaviria, said it was a very meaningful celebration.
“Eight years ago, we began a new stage of our relationship as neighbours and inhabitants of the same territory. We left difficult moments behind and began a process of mutual recognition, built on direct and trustworthy dialogue between equals. This celebration represents another step forward as we continue working together and stay connected through dialogue,” Ricardo said.
Ancestral Advisor and leader for the Zenú community, Irrael Aguilar, agreed that the event was historic for everyone involved.
“We have demonstrated that we can coexist in this land, and the only way of doing it is by living in a concerted, coordinated way – understanding each other, respecting the guidelines of the environment, and respecting internal institutions," Mr Aguilar said.
The celebration, which included a cultural ritual to commemorate the occasion, also marked eight years of continued operations at Cerro Matoso with no community protest, and nearly a decade of ongoing sustainable development for the communities.
The collaborative relationships have resulted in meaningful community investment projects over the years, including the construction and improvement of more than 600 local homes, the donation of more than 1,000 hectares of land for farming, and programs to protect and preserve cultural heritage. Educational initiatives have also been a priority, with more than 160 young people from neighbouring communities having received scholarships for their higher education studies.
Learn about how Cerro Matoso has worked closely with its surrounding communities to form agreements that have produced positive relationships and a strong foundation for the future. Click here for more.