RET began local operations
What We Do
Areas of Intervention
Democracy and governance
Youth civic empowerment and youth development
Disaster risk reduction and management
Economic growth and development
Self-reliance and livelihoods
Education and capacity building
Colombia is a South American country of over 50 million, bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.
The country has survived prolonged armed conflicts spanning a half century, and under which millions were subjected to violence, disappearances, forced displacement, and extrajudicial killings. A 2016 peace accord ended this conflict, but violence by armed groups and displacement has continued in different forms.
According to the Registro Único de Víctimas (RUV), 9.5 million people are recognized as victims of the armed conflict, including more than 8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The country is also home to the largest Venezuelan migrant population in the region, with approximately 2.89 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants as of August 2023.
In addition to these trends, Colombia continues to face elevated risks from natural disasters – which have intensified as a result of climate change – including heavy floods generated by intense rains aggravated by the occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon. These floods have afflicted municipalities which are already grappling with the massive displacement described above, which has an exponential impact on the local populations.
For two decades, RET has focused its efforts on working with youth, women, and their families who have been affected by conflict and disasters. We have used education and livelihood recovery as key tools to achieve humanitarian assistance, stabilization and access to rights for the most vulnerable populations.
Projects in the country have focused on supporting:
- Gender equality;
- Protection of fragile and conflict-affected communities;
- Empowerment of women;
- Strengthening institutional capacity;
- Implementation of initiatives to 1) prevent, reduce or mitigate conflict, 2) promote gender equality and 3) the active and safe participation of youth, their families and communities in peacebuilding, reconciliation processes and political and economic life; and
- The development of community resilience to prevent, respond to and cope with disasters.
RET has also worked in response to the different emergencies caused by hydro-meteorological events, including the technical and administrative strengthening of educational authorities throughout the country. We’ve also worked on the protection and access to rights of young people, women and their families at risk or affected by the armed conflict in Nariño, Antioquia, Cauca (Bajo Cauca Region), Norte de Santander (Catatumbo region) and Putumayo. And among other accomplishments, we have facilitated the opening of more than 400 facilities throughout 31 projects.
To support vulnerable populations in combatting secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked with Global Affairs Canada in several municipalities in Catatumbo in 2020 and 2021 to confront and prevent gender-based violence (GBV) and provide hygiene and sexual and reproductive health kits to families. These programs directly reached 5,306 individuals (56% women).
We also designed the Psychosocial Methodology for the Care of Victims of the Conflict, the Practical Guide for the Prevention and Detection of GBV and the Guide for the Comprehensive Response to Sexual and GBV.
In addition, we incorporated an ethnic approach to empowerment by raising awareness of the rights and redefining the role of indigenous women of Bari in defense of the rights of their people using a gender perspective.
The economic crisis in Venezuela and the migration inflow it has instigated, the COVID-19 pandemic, and civil unrest over economic inequality and police violence, among other issues, have made RET’s mission in the country even more urgent.
From addressing basic humanitarian and protection needs among IDPs within the country to psychosocial care for survivors of sexual abuse and GBV, as well as training teachers, adapting infrastructure, and provisioning school supplies to better include displaced children and adolescents into the educational system, we remain committed to Colombia and its long-term sustainable development.
In Colombia, we work in close coordination with:
- United Nations agencies including the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF, and UNESCO; and
- The Government in Colombia, including the Ministry of Health, the Ombudsman’s Office, Ministry of Education, and the Unit for the Attention and Integral Reparation of Victims.