Success Story: Women in Colombia push back against violence with job skills

In Colombia, Eliana Leaña Valverde lost her husband to armed conflict and was left raising her children alone. In her own words, her “trust in society was broken after living through cycles of violence.”

Thanks to Diageo’s Learning for Life Program – implemented by Tanager – Eliana was able to access educational opportunities that fit her schedule as well as psycho-social support to help her regain her life and career.

Today, Eliana has a job and a bright future thanks to her hard work, Diageo’s vision and Tanager’s expertise.  Watch the Video! 


Despite a top-performing economy, Colombia’s ethnic minorities and victims of conflict have lower-than-average incomes and less access to public services. The unemployment rates for vulnerable populations are higher than the national average of 9.8 percent, and reach close to 20 percent for conflict victims. With the second largest population in South America, these rates account for millions of people facing economic uncertainty.

Since 2015, Tanager has worked with Diageo’s Learning for Life program to provide opportunities to some of Colombia’s most vulnerable social groups – victims of the armed conflict and ethnic minorities. The program, now in its third phase, brings a workforce development and job placement model to Colombia’s urban centers to create opportunities for participants to obtain satisfying, long-term jobs. After six months of workforce development training, program participants gain professional experience in companies through hands-on internships in sales, marketing, hospitality, and office administration. For most of the young participants, the internship is their first experience working in the formal job market.