Under the USAID-Local Works funded Facilitating Financial Sustainability (FFS) project, the LINC-led Colombia Action Learning Group (ALG) hosted a two-day workshop on September 3- 4, 2019 on recent changes to local taxation policy and its implication for civil society organizations (CSOs) working in the Montes de Maria region, a subregion in the Colombian Caribbean coast. The Colombia ALG, comprised of 16 grass-root civil society organizations, was first formalized in October 2018 with the mission of identifying and addressing systematic barriers to financial sustainability in Montes de Maria. This workshop is the first of a series of activities prioritized by the group to promote the long-term financial vitality of CSOs operating in the region.
The new taxation code presents a significant challenge to organizations working in Montes de Maria, who struggle to understand and adequately comply with the new fiscal rules and requirements. The workshop, which saw the participation of 40 local stakeholders, highlighted key changes to the Colombian taxation code and ways that CSOs can remain compliant with the new requirements and avoid potential penalties. The importance of maintaining solid administrative and financial structures and internal reporting mechanisms was also covered.
Following the conclusion of this workshop, the Colombia ALG will turn its attention another identified CSO priority: formalizing strategic alliances and diversifying funding streams. In October, the ALG will conduct a mapping exercise to identify local, national, and international donors currently working in the region and begin planning for a “matchmaking” interface between the mapped donors and CSOs. The team looks forward to providing updates on their development and progress soon.