Map of Colombia
UNICEF Photo: Children in La Guajira department, Colombia, 2012. © UNICEF Colombia/2013/Clemencia Gomez Children in La Guajira department, Colombia, 2012.

Colombia

Updated January 2014

In 2014, UNICEF and partners plan for:
50,000

children in humanitarian situations have access to primary healthcare services

40,000

children benefit from strengthened mechanisms to prevent recruitment or use by armed groups (Play for Peace)

20,000

children in humanitarian situations access formal education

2014 Requirements: US$5,000,000

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Snapshot

Total affected population: 372,365
Total affected children (under 18): 148,950

Total people to be reached in 2014: 110,000
Total children to be reached in 2014: 90,000

Forced displacement, landmine accidents, sexual violence and the recruitment of children and adolescents by armed groups are ongoing consequences of the armed conflict in Colombia. Frequent natural disasters combined with violence related to armed conflict have left the country’s population extremely vulnerable. Ongoing peace talks between the Government of Colombia and and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) are encouraging but have so far failed to generate improvements for civilians affected by conflict. Aside from a brief ceasefire in January, the conflict continued without respite during the first half of 2013. Between 1985 and September 2013, 5.7 million people have been affected by the armed conflict.1 In 2013 alone, 256,000 people were newly internally displaced. Forty per cent of these were children.2 Between January and September 2013, 305 people (including 132 civilians, 28 of whom were children) were killed in incidents related to landmines and unexploded ordnances.3 Natural disasters, particularly floods and landslides, affected 116,365 people in 2013.4 The second rainy season, which began in mid-September, may increase the number of people affected by natural disasters in 2013.

Humanitarian strategy

2014 programme targets

Nutrition

  • 2,000 children in humanitarian situations aged 6 to 59 months affected by severe acute malnutrition are admitted for treatment
  • 48,000 children in humanitarian situations aged 6 to 59 months receive multiple micronutrient supplementation

Health

  • 50,000 children in humanitarian situations have access to primary healthcare services

WASH

  • 20,000 people (8,000 children) in humanitarian situations access water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 20,000 people (8,000 children) in humanitarian situations use appropriate sanitation facilities
  • 20,000 people (8,000 children) in humanitarian situations with appropriate hygiene practices

Child protection

  • 10,000 children provided with child friendly spaces
  • 40,000 children benefiting from strengthened mechanisms to prevent recruitment or use by armed groups (Play for Peace)
  • 40,000 people (20,000 children) protected from accidents through mine risk education programmes

Education

  • 20,000 children in humanitarian situations accessing formal education

In 2014, UNICEF will support the national response to the humanitarian needs of 224,000 people (190,000 children) affected by armed conflict and natural disasters. As lead agency of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education clusters, and member of the protection, food security and nutrition clusters, UNICEF has focused on strengthening the local and national capacities of government entities responsible for disaster risk reduction, preparedness and response. In line with its 2014-2017 strategic plan, UNICEF will provide water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene, appropriate sanitation facilities and environments free of open defecation, and will support communities to improve their hygiene practices. To facilitate continuous access to education in humanitarian situations, UNICEF will support national and local education systems, such as through teacher training, and will support a back-to-school strategy. UNICEF’s protection response will strengthen the capacities of key institutions within the National Family Welfare System and the National Victims System to support 5,352 released children5 and prevent their re-recruitment by armed groups. A comprehensive action plan for the release and reintegration of children will be drafted.

Results from 2013

UNICEF appealed for US$5 million in 2013, and as of the end of October 2013, a total of US$1,469,680 or 29 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. UNICEF focused on supporting national and local governments’ humanitarian response for children affected by emergencies. The limited funding forced UNICEF to further narrow its focus on a population of extremely vulnerable children. As the leader of the WASH cluster, UNICEF promoted a comprehensive approach, including access to water, proper management of excreta and solid waste systems to benefit 10,475 people (including 4,000 children) in schools and households in rural communities. UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education to strengthen local contingency plans so that children affected by emergencies have access to school. UNICEF also supported a campaign for schools as protective spaces; improved school and sanitary infrastructure; and provided furniture and learning materials to rehabilitate learning spaces. UNICEF assumed a leadership role in the National Roundtable on Education in Emergencies and in promoting the International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) minimum standards in humanitarian response. UNICEF provided emergency nutrition assistance (ready-to-use therapeutic food, micronutrients and support to breastfeeding) to the most vulnerable indigenous children and mothers in three departments. It also supported the National Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) to develop and implement the protocol for community-based management of acute malnutrition in 17 of the 32 departments. UNICEF supported the ICBF in developing guidelines for the protection programme for children released by non-state armed groups. UNICEF also implements programmes with children, such as Return to Happiness and Golombiao (the game for peace) to promote resilience, conflict resolution skills and peaceful coexistence.

Results through 31 October 2013 unless noted

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$5 million to continue to support the response to children affected by natural disasters and armed conflict. Basic supplies for primary health care, nutrition, education and the provision of safe water supplies, sanitation facilities and hygiene, as well as psychosocial support, are also urgently needed to uphold children’s rights. 

1 Reported by the Government of Colombia.
2 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin: Colombia’, OCHA, <http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Colombia%20Monthly%20Bulletin%20September%202013.pdf>, accessed 13 December 2013.
3 Reported by the Presidential Programme on Mine Action (PAICA).
4 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin: Colombia’, OCHA, , accessed 13 December 2013; and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Colombia, ‘Informe de Situacion No 2 Inundaciones en Putumayo’, OCHA, <‘http://www.colombiassh.org/site/spip.php?article920>, accessed 13 December 2013.
5 Figure as of October 2013.