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How Children Change Colombia defends children's rights in Colombia

Children Change Colombia works with the most at risk and excluded children in Colombia

Children Change Colombia aims to work with the excluded children in Colombia, the children whose voices don't get heard.

These are the millions of children who, despite good news about the Colombian economy and prospects for an end to the long-running conflict, still face poverty, violence and social exclusion. 

We aim to make sure that we are always reaching the children who need us most, who face the gravest threats to their rights and are most excluded from society.

These might be children who have been forced from their homes by the armed conflict, who are excluded from school because of their disability, who have been discriminated against because they have lived in care, or because they are a girl or because of their ethnicity.

These children might be victims of sexual violence; they might have left abusive homes only to end up alone on the streets; or they might have been recruited into the terrifying life of a child soldier.

Children Change Colombia works to keep children safe from immediate harm

In Colombia, many children are in immediate danger from abuse, neglect, violence and ill-health. We aim to keep these children safe.

Helping to protect children from immediate harm is an important element of our work. But, as the experience of our partners confirms, this alone is not sufficient to ensure children's rights are protected in the long-term.

Children Change Colombia works to defend children's rights in the long term

To be sure of growing up in a safe and nurturing environment, free from the threat of harm, children need the means to defend their rights in the long term, and the support of adults to do this.

So Children Change Colombia works to help children and their families understand children's rights, gain the confidence to assert them and the knowledge to access the support that is available. We also work to ensure that all adults fulfil their obligations to protect children's rights.

We aim to enable children, and families, to assert a greater influence both over the services provided by our partners, and on wider debate, policy and practice affecting children's welfare. This includes health, education and social services provided by government.

It means supporting those organisations with a commitment to listening to and learning from children themselves and involving them in the decisions that affect their lives.

Children Change Colombia tackles neglected issues that few others address

The causes of poverty, violence and social exclusion in Colombia are many. And they don't all receive the attention that they should.

That's why we work on neglected issues, those problems which are a serious threat to children's rights but which receive least attention.

The neglected issues that we are currently working on are:

  • Commercial sexual exploitation of children, adolescents and young people (CSEC)
  • Recruitment into armed groups and reintegration into society
  • Exclusion from education

The neglected issues that we have previously worked on include:

  • Violence in and exclusion from education
  • Violence in schools
  • Educational exclusion of children with disabilities
  • Discrimination against children with HIV or AIDS
  • Lack of support for care leavers
  • Poor quality family reunification for street-involved children and care-leavers

By working on these neglected issues we aim to ensure that:

  • They are more widely understood as serious threats to children's rights.
  • More work is done to tackle them so that fewer children and young people are threatened by them.

 

There are also 3 crosscutting topics that are involved in our current projects and that could evolve to become a higher priority.  

 

1. Awareness raising among young people about the environment 

The current climate change situation urges all of our projects to be aware of the natural  environment and making choices that benefit the earth, rather than hurt it. Some of the ways to  practice environmental awareness include: conserving energy and water, recycling, activism, and  others. CCC is already working on environmental issues in its project with Acadesan in rural Chocó. 

 

2. Children and young people on the move 

To date, Colombia hosts around 1.8 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants and has the highest  number of internally displaced people (IDPs), according to the United Nations. In its annual report,  the UNHCR, the agency in charge of monitoring forced displacement, said Colombia had 7.7 million  IDPs.  

Among these figures there are many children and young people. CCC is currently working with some  Venezuelan families that live in the “Zona de Tolerancia” in Bogota and is planning to work with  indigenous and Venezuelan children in la Guajira in 2021. Additionally, most of the children that  participate in the CDE project in Quibdó belong to families of internally displaced people. 

 

3. Pandemic 

Covid-19 has affected all the projects implemented by CCC in 2020 and was a key factor to take in a  count in the design of 2021 projects. The pandemic will be an important crosscutting issue that will  have an impact on all our projects for several years to come.

 

Children Change Colombia works to strengthen children's organisations

Children Change Colombia works in partnership with local organisations who work directly with vulnerable children and young people.

 

We provide much-needed funding to support our partners' programs. We also aim to provide the technical support our partners need to become stronger organisations, better able to support vulnerable children in the long term. This means that our Project Officer is in regular, sometimes daily, contact with our partners, giving advice and support on all aspects of their work, from detailed input on project budgets and proposals, to simply being a sounding board for new ideas.

You can find examples of this work in our 2019 Impact Report