For close to 50 years, ICCO has been working in Latin America, closing inequality gaps, alleviating poverty in a sustainable way and helping vulnerable groups, such as children and teens affected by the armed conflict in Colombia, to develop new perspectives and life opportunities.
Av. Fuerza Naval No. 1238 entre calles 19 y 20 - Calacoto
La Paz, Bolivia
Colombia is located at the extreme north-west of South America and has 48.801.990 inhabitants in 2016. It has a north-western border with Panama, in the south with Ecuador and Peru, in the south-west with Brazil and in the east with Venezuela. It has a land surface of 1.141.748 km2, so it occupies a fourth place in the countries of South America. It has 2.900 km of coastline.
Colombia is of great strategic importance due to its location between two great oceans: the Pacific and the Atlantic.
For more than 50 years, Colombia has been immersed in an armed conflict that is considered the worst humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere and the oldest on-going conflict in the world. Forced internal displacement directly affects around 6.9 million people, surpassed only by the Middle East, which reflects the grave impact that this armed conflict has had on Colombian civilians and society.
Colombia has a little over 40 million inhabitants, 4.3 millions of them are afrocolombians (10,62 % of the population). The afrocolombian community has been one of the most affected by the armed conflict. The territories of the Colombian Pacific have had the greatest concentration of armed groups, who bring with them drug traffic, violence, poverty and abandonment on the part of the State.
Of the almost 7 million displaced people registered, 30% are afrocolombians. It is calculated that approximately 70% of the afrocolombian population of the pacific has been displaced as a result of the conflict.
Despite the progress made in the peace dialogues led by the Colombian government, thousands of girls, boys and teens see their rights trampled on, finding themselves in situations of exclusion, displacement, armed recruitment, blockades and other types of violence associated with the armed conflict, leading sometimes to death.
The conflict also has been leaving girls, boys and teens with combat wounds as a result of land mines. For close to 50 years, ICCO has been working in Latin America, closing inequality gaps, alleviating poverty in a sustainable way and helping vulnerable groups, such as children and teens affected by the armed conflict in Colombia, to develop new perspectives and life opportunities.
"I've looked for oppertunities, ways to improve my life, to make a living and to study. But because of life circumstances, things didn't work out. I had problems. I wasn't able to do these things until I got here, at Manq'a school. Manq'a has given me the opportunity to keep growing as a person, to train as a professional. Manq'a taught me many things: to develop character, respect, teamwork and to have love or passion for what you do." - Germo Martinez, future Colombian cook.