Skip to main content

IDB supports Colombia’s Productive insertion work Program for people with disabilities

The Productive insertion work Program for people with disabilities  is a business development program in Colombia that promotes the productive employment of people with disabilities.

The program is sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Multilateral Investment Fund, and Colombia’s Fundación Corona, Saldarriaga Concha Foundation, and the Presidential Agency for Social Action and National Learning Service (SENA)

Javier Ávila, who lost his vision at age 14, is currently deputy director of operational analysis management of Colombia’s Tax and Customs Service. He continues to pursue a successful career despite his disability. Ávila's case illustrates the philosophy of the Productive insertion work Program: Forge a new culture that will enable society and business to extend employment and productivity to people with disabilities.

The Productive insertion work Program was created to promote formal employment by bringing disabled persons together with Colombia’s productive sector. It provides incentives to employers to extend job opportunities to people with different kinds of disabilities. Participating companies receive support and guidance in the identification of job opportunities, the selection process, and monitoring and feedback on work performance.

For their part, people with disabilities receive training to enable them to maximize their talents and abilities in the business or productive project. In Colombia there are thousands of disabled people who need support to develop a productive life and join the labor market. The program’s most important goal over the next four years is to enlist at least 100 companies (commercial, industrial, agricultural, and services) in formally establishing links with at least 500 disabled persons. According to the 2005 census, the country had 2,876,119 disabled persons, representing 6.32 percent of the population.

Success Story

The Productive insertion work Program also changed the life of María Reyes, who has Down syndrome. She participates in the program as a home-based businesswoman who produces and sells preserves that she distributes in social clubs, hotels, and shops in the north of Bogota. With her mother’s support, , Maríahas become an entrepreneur in the food industry, employs two persons, and has a customer network that will guarantee her business’s stability.

The program has the support of key economic sectors in the country: the National Business Association of Colombia, the National Retail Federation, the Colombian Labor Association, which brings together formal micro, small and medium-size enterprises in different sectors, and CONFECAMARAS. Its activities focus on the cities of Bogota, Cali, Medellin, and Pereira, where the Family Compensation Funds Cafam, Comfandi, Comfenalco-Antioquia and Comfamiliar-Risaralda function as regional partners.

Jump back to top