Results around the world – Colombia
Colombia is a growing middle-income country with a vibrant civil society, democratic governance, and a robust private sector. Colombia also faces significant poverty, inequality and challenges to peace and stability that the country is working hard to overcome.
Through development cooperation, humanitarian assistance, and peace and security initiatives, Canada has collaborated with Colombia for more than 40 years to help the most vulnerable.
Looking to the future, Canada is working with Colombia to consolidate peace, reduce poverty, and advance gender equality by leveraging new, innovative partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together.
To achieve this partnership, Canada adopts an ecosystem approach. We collaborate with local government institutions and with civil society to advance creative solutions. We also work closely with private sector partners to bring more resources and attention to the challenges faced by the most vulnerable via innovation, shared ownership and co-creation. We listen to the voice of our beneficiaries.
With this approach, Canada is delivering our Feminist International Assistance Policy in Colombia with a focus on:
- Advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
- Supporting access to quality education for at-risk populations
- Building sustainable and inclusive economic growth and employment
- Responding to the needs of Venezuelan migrants, refugees and host communities
- Delivering responsive humanitarian assistance
- Supporting Colombia’s efforts to unlock private sector capital for development
- Bolstering peace implementation in Colombia
Examples of Key Results and Initiatives
Advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
- Strengthening the voice of women: Women’s rights organizations have long played a key role as agents of change in Colombia, helping to advance democratic, economic and peacebuilding agendas. In 2019, Canada launched the project Women’s Voice and Leadership Colombia, in partnership with Oxfam-Québec. This initiative provides flexible funding and technical assistance to 16 rural women’s rights organizations and networks that promote gender equality in conflict-affected regions, reaching over 12,000 rural, indigenous and Afro-Colombian women.
- Improving access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls: With Colombian partner ProFamilia, Canada is supporting efforts to improve the access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls. 9,069 children and their families have been reached, reducing high rates of gender-based violence, early pregnancy, and limited access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Supporting access to quality education for at-risk populations
- Helping boys and girls get education along the border: In 2020, Canada launched the “Beyond Borders” project with Save the Children Canada. This initiative is supporting the right to safe, gender-responsive, quality learning for girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 18 affected by the crisis and conflict along the Colombia-Venezuela border. The project is also developing local and national public awareness campaigns to address xenophobia and discrimination.
- Building the next generation of education for vulnerable populations: In 2021, Canada launched the Outcome Fund for Education Results (OFFER). The OFFER is a public-private sector Fund that creates a marketplace for affordable education solutions to be scaled up for the most vulnerable. Canada is co-designing and implementing this Fund together with its founding private sector partners (Bancolombia, Sura, Nutresa and Businesses for Education (Empresarios for Education)) and in close cooperation with national and local Colombian governments.
Building sustainable and inclusive economic growth and employment
- Building more inclusive markets for vulnerable producers: In 2019, together with Quebec-based Socodevi and several Colombian and Canadian businesses, Canada launched the Agroemprende Cacao project to support 5,000 smallholder cacao producers in Colombia’s most conflict-affected regions so they can build viable business cooperatives and access profitable markets, with women’s empowerment and sustainable production as ingredients for success. More than half of the project’s financing comes from Canada’s private sector partners.
- Improving access to financing for rural producers: working with Canada’s Développement international Desjardins, 100,000 loans were provided to smallholder rural producers in conflict-affected areas to increase their productivity through financial management training and technical assistance. This has provided opportunities for those most in need to improve their quality of life.
- Supporting vulnerable populations get sustainable employment: In partnership with Canada’s Cuso International, Canada is entering its fifth year working with Colombian private sector companies and local Colombian governments to connect over 13,000 conflict-affected Colombians and vulnerable Venezuelan migrants with sustainable jobs. The project delivers targeted job-training and socio-emotional services to support the employees integrate into the workforce. This inclusive approach grows the economy and reduces poverty with a GBA+ perspective. 5,776 participants have gained formal employment, signaling a meaningful change from their previous informal situations to much more sustainability and predictability in household incomes.
- In 2020, Canada launched a new project in partnership with Quebec-based Développement International Desjardins (DID). The initiative will support Colombian financial institutions to develop lending services for over 30,000 rural women and youth so they get the financial credit they need to build profitable, lasting businesses. This latest innovative effort builds on five years of previous Canada-funded programming by DID in Colombia that helped small-scale farmers get financial credit. For these earlier efforts, DID and its Colombian partner, Finagro, won the Colombian 2019 National Public Service Award, presented by the President of Colombia.
Responding to the needs of Venezuelan migrants, refugees and host communities
- Supporting Colombia’s capacity to integrate Venezuelan migrants: Beginning in 2019, Canada helped lead regional efforts to bring the World Bank’s Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) to the Americas by sponsoring Colombia and Ecuador as recipient countries and providing a grant to the Facility targeting the region. These efforts have helped leverage well over one billion dollars to date in concessional lending to Colombia to support their own host-country efforts to welcome and integrate vulnerable Venezuelan migrants, including via health, housing, registration and other essential services. This concessional lending will benefit hundreds of thousands of vulnerable migrants and members of host communities in the years to come.
Bolstering peace implementation in Colombia
- Focusing on support to Transitional justice mechanisms, the implementation of gender and ethnic considerations of the 2016 peace agreement, empowerment of women, addressing post-peace agreement violence, mine action, child protection, inclusive economic growth, as well as rural development and education in areas affected by the conflict. Colombia is also one of the countries of focus for Global Affairs Canada under Canada’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Canada is a top contributor to the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN-MPTF) for Post-Conflict in Colombia and the Organization of American States Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS), as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia (OHCHR). We also work with Plan International to support victims of the armed conflict to access their rights and strengthening Government capacity to deliver protection and compensation services for victims, particularly women, girls and youth.
- Clearing minefields: Together with the HALO Trust, Canada’s support to demining helped clear +57,000m2 of mine-affected land; the delivery of 26 cleared minefields to communities, and the identification of 21 additional minefields. This has meant for producers to take their land back from the conflict, and back from the landmines so they are able to use it to provide their families.
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