SCOPE project wraps up after nearly a decade supporting economic opportunities in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador


SCOPE project wraps up after nearly a decade supporting economic opportunities in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador

After nine years helping women, youth, victims of conflict, and Venezuelan migrants find formal employment, Cuso International’s Sustainable Colombian Opportunities for Peacebuilding and Employment (SCOPE) project will conclude at the end of March.

SCOPE started in Colombia in 2015, with funding from Global Affairs Canada, to support employment opportunities for vulnerable and disadvantaged youth.

Evolving with the needs of the communities, in 2019 SCOPE began working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to help with a growing migration crisis due to the ongoing political conflict in Venezuela, which has displaced millions of people. Due to SCOPE’s success in Colombia, the project expanded to Peru and Ecuador in 2022.

Participants include Nidia Ramona and Carlos Cáceres, who arrived in Lima, Peru in 2017. Through SCOPE, they received marketing tools and legal advice to strengthen their pizza-parlour business. They also attended workshops on sales and customer service.

“Since we’ve been working, we feel like a part of the community, like it’s our home,” said Carlos.

To create safer and more inclusive work environments for marginalized groups, SCOPE designed the “Ruta Inclusiva”, an innovative toolkit that provides gender equality and social inclusion training to more than 500,000 employees in Colombia.

“Inclusion is important because it helps us to increase our productivity,” said Juan Pablo Castillo, Director of Corporate Affairs at partner Sodexo. “Our desire is to generate a healthy organizational culture and promote respect among our staff.”

SCOPE also works with local governments to strengthen their capacity to design more inclusive employment policies and programs that address the barriers marginalized groups face in accessing economic opportunities.

Over its nine-year lifespan, SCOPE trained 23,643 people, linking 14,723 people to formal employment – 60 per cent women, 79 per cent youth, 34 per cent Venezuelan migrants, and 14 per cent victims of conflict. The project also strengthened 1,674 micro-enterprises, like Emily’s hand-crafted accessories.

Emily benefitted from a pilot project helping small businesses become key vendors of large enterprises. Participants also increased their management, accounting, and technical skills.

“It has been something extremely positive,” said Emily. “We successfully closed a deal with the D1 convenience stores. They were very kind. They made the payment process easier, the delivery system, everything. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience.”

We are deeply grateful to all SCOPE staff and partners for their dedication and contributions. Rich from this experience, we will use the many lessons learned to inform future programs.