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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).

The chance of a better future

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.

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Timo Nikolaus
Email: timo.nikolaus(at)malteser-international.org

Jelena Kaifenheim

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