In 2010 – 2011, Colombia was hit by a cold spell that negatively affected the most vulnerable communities, including children and adolescents, families and educational institutions, among others. In response to this, the RET mobilized its resources for education in emergencies with the help of organisations of cooperation and UN agencies such as OCHA – the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – by implementing a relief plan for the worst hit communities.
In this context, five educational institutions in the Department of Caquetá, Florencia, were supported in the process of adapting and improving areas of protection. Due to the impact and success of the experience, the RET extended its intervention in education, protection and psychosocial support to girls, children, adolescents and youth to the Department of Atlántico (municipalities of Candelaria and Santa Lucia).
In Caquetá, the intervention was closely followed/accompanied by the Ministry of Education where technical advice was given by the local team of the RET Caquetá. Thanks to this intervention, 759 children could recover their right to education. Besides, risk management and preparedness processes for future emergencies were put into place, benefiting 1,007 children directly. Finally, thanks to the technical assistance provided to the Department of Education of Florencia-Caquetá, its institutional capacities in emergency preparedness, response and recovery could be enhanced, benefiting 36,687 students indirectly.
In the process of the intervention, the enormous impact of forced displacement on education in the region was evidenced and existing educational gaps revealed. Based on these findings, a strategy was designed which will significantly improve the response capacity of educational institutions in rural areas as well as diminish the existing gap in access to education.
In this respect, strategies in emergency education, child protection and risk management were adequately articulated and incorporated in the different institutions of the department/municipality so as to prevent the deterioration of education in upcoming emergencies and share good practices.
Finally, school facilities could be renovated: classrooms, restrooms, water supply systems, mitigation works, exceeding by far the initial/established goals and contributing to the aim of restoring education and reducing the risk of future events.