Over 50 years of social and political conflict have caused internal displacement for more than four million people in Colombia. While legal and illegal armed actors continue to violate human rights and international humanitarian law, more than half of the country’s citizens live in poverty. Severe flooding in recent years has destroyed homes and crops in many parts of the country.
In 2001, DWS began working in Colombia under the auspices of its Central America regional program at the invitation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Colombia. With support from ACT International, now ACT Alliance, the program implemented emergency projects with internally displaced people (IDPs). Today, DWS Colombia is an autonomous country program active in the regions of Arauca on the border with Venezuela, El Chocó on the Pacific Coast and Cundinamarca in central Colombia.
DWS Colombia works with local civil society organizations, combining organizational capacity building with sustainable development. DWS Colombia’s firm commitment to human rights standards addresses the root causes of poverty and exclusion, and challenges the perception of vulnerable populations as objects of charity.
The program focuses on three areas:
- human rights
- sustainable livelihoods
- humanitarian action
DWS Colombia accompanies the empowerment work of civil society organizations and rural communities. Priority is given to advocacy for the rights of vulnerable groups such as indigenous people, women, IDPs and conflict victims. The program seeks to involve these groups in peace-building and development initiatives, and promote dignity, diversity, tolerance and social justice as responses to armed conflict.
DWS Colombia supports development initiatives that enable communities to earn a living from the land on which they live. To ensure sustainability, the program combines technical assistance with community-building activities.
DWS Colombia works to strengthen the civilian population’s ability to respond to the consequences of armed conflict and natural disaster. In Arauca, the program works with small farmers and indigenous communities to reduce poverty and build peace. In Chocó, the program supports affected communities in their response to severe floods, as well as helping them to prepare for natural disasters in the future.
For further information please contact:
Ms Sophie Gebreyes, Program Officer
Rev. Silvio Schneider, Country Representative