By Zuhal Demirci
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's state-run aid agency has completed 172 projects in Latin America in the past 10 years.
The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) realized projects in the education, health and agriculture sectors.
With its projects supporting women employment, peace and entrepreneurship, the agency played a bridging role between Turkey and Latin America.
To accelerate its activities in the region, TIKA opened its first office in Mexico in 2014, while the second office was launched the following year in Colombian capital Bogota.
– Education sector
TIKA opened a school in May 2017 in Oregon town of Colombia — the first town cleared of mines after signing of a peace deal.
Peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) began in November 2012 in Cuba and for more than four years addressed agrarian reform, political participation, illicit drugs, and rights of the victims.
Then-President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander-in-chief Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, also known as Timoleon Jimenez, signed a historic peace agreement in September 2016 at a ceremony that ended the longest conflict in the Western hemisphere.
The aid agency provided two boats to El Charco La Tribuna school in Colombia for transportation of 300 students living in rural areas.
TIKA also renovated the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk primary school with some 280 students in Chile in 2016.
– Health aid
TIKA has provided medical equipment to various hospitals in Colombia, Peru and Brazil.
The aid agency supplied medical materials for disabled to a rehabilitation center in Santa Rosa de Cabal municipality of Colombia.
It also provided three ambulances to Suriname, Bolivia and Guyana.
In Mexico, TIKA set up a neonatal intensive care unit in the Tijuana state hospital, as well as arranged the ground breaking ceremony for a health center in central Oaxaca district.
– TIKA supports Palestinians in Chile
The aid agency renovated and expanded the service capacity of the Union Arabe de Beneficencia nursing home in Chile's capital Santiago, which serves mostly Palestinians and Arabs, who immigrated to Chile in the 20th century.
Half a million Palestinians — mostly Christians — live in Chile.
TIKA also made a turf football field for the Deportivo Palestino football club — founded by Palestinians in Chile in 1920.
The renovation and renewal works of the As-Salam mosque in Santiago were also supported by the agency.
It also realized the project for interior decoration of Abu Bakr Al Siddique mosque in Bogota.
– Support for women in Latin America
TIKA provided industrial textile equipment to 12 women to establish their own business in Colombia's Cacuta district, which was mostly affected by the massive migration of Venezuelan refugees.
It also supported the women union in Chile's Linares region.
The Turkish aid agency also implemented a project to support 55 women in chicken and egg production sector in Pueblo Nuevo and Orejon villages of northern Colombia.
– Economy and infrastructure support
TIKA provided workbenches to 46 families working at the Dario Echandia marketplace in the Chaparral region of western Colombia, where meat, chicken and fish products are the main source of livelihood.
It also provided 18 light machinery to the Kinoa manufacturers associations in Quechua and Aymara region of south Bolivia — where the country's poorest communities live — to raise the production process to the export level.
Last year, TIKA delivered aid to earthquake victims in the region following the earthquake in Mexico.
Implementing around 2,000 activities annually through its 61 offices around the world, TIKA has completed thousands of projects in over 160 countries since 1992.