DRC established its operational presence in Colombia in 2011 with a focus on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) and providing support to conflict-affected populations in the south of the country.
Colombia hosts one of world’s largest populations of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) - over 5.2 million as of end of 2021 - due to the protracted yet volatile internal armed conflict that has affected the country for more than 50 years. This has triggered severe and overlapping protection issues, including forced displacement, confinements, threats and assassinations, forced recruitment of minors and gender-based violence.
In 2022 alone, more than 110,000 people were displaced internally or confined, of which at least 2,100 were refugees or migrants. The conflict has also led to a heavy contamination of the environment by landmines and other unexploded ordnance, with 167 mine casualties in 2020 alone – the 6th-highest rate worldwide. Explosive ordnance contamination poses significant obstacles to a long-lasting peace and jeopardizes opportunities for socioeconomic development. In addition, natural disasters in Colombia continuously expose millions of people to climate-related events every year.
Since 2014, Colombia has been directly affected by the massive influx of refugees and migrants fleeing Venezuela. Venezuelan refugees and migrants are extremely vulnerable to multi-faceted protection risks, and face difficulties in meeting their basic needs, such as food, shelter, health, and education. They also face obstacles in securing an income – largely due to their lack of access to legal documentation.
Core sectors Colombia
Source: | DRC Foresight
01 Oct 2022
Using The DEEP Platform for Qualitative Protection Analysis to Design Better Evidence-based Responses in LAC
Why we are there
Internally Displaced Persons
According to Colombian authorities, out of Colombia’s 48.2 million population, more than 8.2 million people are IDPs. Humanitarian crises continue in large parts of Colombian territory due to multiple factors, including increasingly complex and unpredictable conflict and armed violence dynamics, the presence and territorial control of non-state armed groups in large areas of the country, natural disasters and mixed migration flows that generate or exacerbate humanitarian needs in various communities, especially those located in areas most affected by the conflict, with little to no state presence.
Mixed Migration Flows
Refugees and migrants face obstacles to access public services, earn livelihoods and meet their basic needs, all of which are aggravated by a lack of documentation and consequent irregularity. The official reopening of borders with Venezuela in August 2022 and the transition to a recovery phase from the global COVID-19 pandemic has allowed for an increase in regular arrivals from Venezuela and other countries, and has also been accompanied by an observed increase in pendular movements. As the Temporary Protection Scheme closed in May 2022, there are now limited options for refugees to access international protection in the country, both for new arrivals and people who couldn't access it when they arrived. At the same time, those who have regularized their status still often struggle to access services due to a combination of lack of information, lack of institutional response and xenophobia.
What we do
DRC has worked in Colombia since 2011. In 2018, DRC began providing humanitarian assistance to refugees, migrants, and host communities in urban and rural areas of Bogota D.C., Cundinamarca, Atlantico, Antioquia and La Guajira in the form of protection and multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) at scale to respond to the onset of large mixed migration flows from Venezuela. In 2021, DRC started providing lifesaving assistance to conflict-affected populations through protection, humanitarian mine action, emergency preparedness, and response interventions to address the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in hard-to-reach, border and conflict-affected areas of Nariño, Norte de Santander, Caquetá and Bolívar.
Nowadays, DRC continues to deliver life-saving assistance to refugees, migrants, IDPs and host communities through integrated humanitarian response focused on the overlapping needs of the most vulnerable individuals and communities affected by conflict and displacement in Colombia. At the same time, DRC adapts to the shifting needs of people of concern by scaling-up its economic recovery programming and supporting affected communities with entrepreneurship and employability programmes as a complement to its ongoing MPCA intervention, and strengthening its community-based approach to both continue to address immediate protection needs and to strengthen the resilience of local structures and leadership.
DRC currently provides a holistic response based on the centrality of protection, focusing on the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach, with particular emphasis on individuals and communities where the effects of displacement and conflict intersect. DRC supports people of concern with protection (protection monitoring, individual protection assistance, gender-based violence prevention, community-based protection, legal assistance, Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) and cash for rent), Humanitarian Mine Action (risk education, survey and clearance), food and Non-Food Item (NFI) distributions, livelihood interventions, and small-scale community-centered WASH and infrastructure projects.
DRC provides an area-based approach that allows for an integrated and tailored response, addressing both individual and community needs, through direct assistance and community-based interventions.
Working in collaboration with
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
United States Agency for International Development
US Department of State
Executive Director West & North Africa and Latin America
Operations Director for Latin America