Vamos Tejiendo: Equal Access to Quality Jobs for Women and Girls in Agriculture (EQUAL) in Colombia

Project Duration
December 2019
July 2024
Funding and Year

EQUAL/Colombia aims to reduce the risk of child labor, forced labor, and other violations of labor rights by empowering vulnerable women and girls working in the production of unrefined brown sugar (panela) and the cut flowers sector and promoting a better understanding of labor rights.

The Problem

In Colombia, women and girls ages 15-17 working in agriculture often lack knowledge of their labor rights and are vulnerable to unacceptable conditions of work. In the unrefined brown sugar (panela) sector, which generates the most employment in Colombian agriculture after coffee, girls are vulnerable to child labor, including work in hazardous conditions, and women and girls may work unpaid on family farms. In the cut flowers sector, women comprise 65 percent of the labor force and often work long hours and are exposed to occupational safety and health risks. In both sectors, women and girls are vulnerable to gender discrimination, gender-based violence, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Our Strategy

EQUAL/Colombia will empower women, girls, and their families and communities by providing them with a better understanding of labor rights and improved access to labor and social protections. The project will partner with the Colombian government, the National Business Association (ANDI), and civil society organizations to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to labor violations in the cut flower and panela sectors. It will also increase job training and economic opportunities for more than 2,000 women and girls.

EQUAL/Colombia will place women, girls, communities, and other project participants at the core of project activities by ensuring that their needs and expectations informed the design and implementation of project activities and therefore increase local ownership and impact of the project.
EQUAL/Colombia will implement activities in the Departments of Antioquia and Cundinamarca. 


  • Vamos Tejiendo has effectively amplified the voices of women in the panela and cut flower sectors by establishing four women's circles, one in each target municipality. Through these women’s circles,  participants gain both soft and technical skills, exchange experiences, and advocate for policy changes at the municipal level. During the last local election cycle, the women's circles championed a women's economic empowerment agenda through six strategic lines of action: 1) political participation, 2) economic autonomy, 3) integral health, 4) education, 5) a life free of violence, 6) recreation, sports, and culture. This agenda was presented to mayoral candidates in town halls. Almost all candidates pledged their commitment to implement the women's agenda in Yolombo and Facatativa. Implementing the women’s agenda as part of the municipal development plans could benefit close to 20,000 women in target municipalities.
  • The project has developed a partnership with Molienda Real, a Colombian company that helps small panela producers transition from traditional to organic panela production and to transform panela into innovative, export-quality products. This partnership promotes sustainable Agriculture practices and youth development in the panela production by strengthening individual skills and building trapiches’ production capacity to export. The project, in collaboration with Molienda Real, has launched a rural school pilot to empower youth and cultivate a skilled workforce in the panela value chain. Rural school sessions covered topics such as bio-input production, organic management plans, and product development.
  • The project has trained 571 women in the panela and cut-flower sectors on labor rights, leadership, decision-making, teamwork and autonomy, communication skills, care economy, and violence prevention.

Learn About Our Success


In Colombia, women working in agriculture often face hazardous conditions, long hours, gender discrimination, and even gender-based violence or sexual harassment. Maria Yaneth Cuervo Marín (Yaneth) knew this wasn’t going to be her story. 

Implementing Partners:
Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS)
Contact Information: / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Sugar Cane
Supply Chains
Women’s Empowerment
Worker Voice