The province of La Guajira in northern Colombia offers young people few prospects. Poverty, unemployment and climate change are just a few of the problems the region is facing. Ruth Uriana de Armas and 49 other indigenous and Afro-Colombian youths have made it their task, against all odds, to bring about change in their homeland.Read more
Though Colombia is categorized in the upper-middle income level, inequality and regional disparities in income particularly affect vulnerable groups. The poorest 20% of families receive only 3% of total GDP, and 54% of rural families have no land. Colombia has been engaged in an internal armed conflict between guerrillas, government forces and paramilitary groups for over 40 years. More than 5 million people have suffered forced displacement in the country, mainly in rural and semi-rural areas, which contain pockets of high Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) – principally among indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations, while access to health care services is limited.
Colombia hosts close to 10% of the planet’s biodiversity, but 48% of its territory is affected by soil erosion and each year 120,933 hectares are deforested. Colombia has a climate risk index of 54.17, which makes it one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, forest fires and landslides in the region.
Malteser International has been active in Northern Colombia since 2014 working in the fields of health, food security and climate change adaptation mainly in the poor rural areas of the departments of La Guajira, César and Magdalena, and with vulnerable groups (indigenous, Afro-Colombian and conflict affected populations).
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For centuries, traditional birth attendants and midwives like Juanita have played a key role for pregnant women in indigenous communities. Their years of experience and knowledge of natural medicine have earned them trust and respect as invaluable providers of rural maternal care. However, most traditional birth attendants are often incapable of handling obstetric complications, leading to high maternal and infant deaths.
By training local midwives, Malteser International is helping to provide the skilled care indigenous women in Colombia need to give birth safely.Read more
Colombia has taken in almost one million refugees from Venezuela. Ana, Iris and Carlos are all seeking a better life and a better future in Colombia. These are their stories:Read more
Ana Ofelia González Cantillo is a 35 year old indigenous Colombian Wayuu woman who left Colombia 30 years ago for a better life. Up until recently she lived in Venezuela, but now Ana and her six children are refugees in her own country. After nearly starving, she and her family crawled underneath a dug out section of the city wall separating the two countries with only a chair and a hammock in hand.Read more
Jairo was born in Colombia but moved to Venezuela when he was just a child. Thirty years later, when times became too difficult and he and his family made the decision to flee the humanitarian crisis in Venezuala, his homeland of Colombia welcomed him with open arms, even after not living in the country for decades.Read more
Jimmy Chacon and his family have been fleeing from armed violence in Colombia for years. Half a century of brutal civil war have forced almost seven million people from their homes. Thanks to the conclusion of a tentative peace, however, hope is beginning to bloom again.Read more
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