• Where We Work


Our Work in Colombia

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has worked in Colombia since 1985, reaching communities affected by domestic conflict and forced displacement, and assisting communities attempting voluntary returns or initiating resettlement. Together with local partner organizations, national rural development networks, and the Colombian government — LWR has expanded our reach to conflict-affected rural communities throughout the country. We work with thousands of smallholder farming families to promote climate-smart agricultural practices and improve farmers’ participation in agriculture value chains, especially within the cocoa and coffee industry.

Impact Investing

To further improve key value chains and advance our sustainability strategy, LWR established an impact investing arm, Ground Up Investing (GUI). GUI has invested in Nevacos Beans, a coffee production company operating in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, one of Colombia’s historically conflict-afflicted rural areas. GUI has also invested in Uncommon Cacao, a cacao production and trading company that seeks to change the terms of trade for the benefit of smallholder farmers by offering high-quality and transparently priced cacao to specialty chocolate makers. Most recently, GUI invested in Innovakit, a Colombian company recognized globally for innovation in the coffee industry.

Agriculture value chains: Cocoa and coffee

LWR works to increase incomes and improve quality of life for rural families affected by conflict or living in post-conflict areas by diversifying their agriculture systems with the addition of cocoa and coffee as income-generating cash crops. Along with direct technical assistance to farmers to establish, cultivate and harvest cocoa and coffee, LWR also works to establish and strengthen producer organizations and promote innovative ideas with sound governance and sustainable business plans that allow them to manage post-harvest processing and provide services for the future. LWR helps these organizations find links to local, national and international markets and to understand how to establish relationships with buyers.

Climate-smart agriculture

In Colombia, more frequent flood events, more intense droughts and an increase in the median annual temperature have been negatively affecting farming and fishing communities. LWR works with vulnerable communities to alleviate the effects of climate change by protecting farmland through the construction of dikes, coastal reforestation, vermiculture, soil and water conservation technologies and environmental and climate education for local authorities.