Viento Libre ('Free wind') is a neighborhood with high risk of child recruitment by armed groups in Tumaco. 

NRC has worked with the community for bringing back the education to the life of children through the construction of a classroom.  The whole community including parents and volunteer teachers work with NRC in the promotion of  protective spaces for education and in activities during the spare time - when the risk increases -.

Colombia, Nariño, Tumaco

Photo by Edgar León
Read caption Viento Libre ('free wind') is a neighbourhood with high risk of child recruitment by armed groups in Tumaco. NRC workers promote protective spaces for education and activities. Photo: NRC/Edgar León

NRC in Colombia

NRC Colombia
A six decade-long armed conflict has given Colombia the most prolonged and serious humanitarian crisis in the Americas. Since 1991, NRC has been active in the country, where millions of people have been forcibly displaced.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2018.


Humanitarian overview

Colombia’s six decade-long armed conflict continue to force hundreds of thousands to flee.

Although the country reached a milestone with the 2016 peace agreement between the government and the armed group FARC-EP1, the conflict has intensified in some areas since the group laid down its arms. Violence continues in former FARC-EP controlled areas and armed groups fight for control of natural resources and drug traffic routes. 9 out of 10 people displaced by Colombia's civil war have not received the promised compensation for crimes committed against them.

Colombia has the second largest displaced population in the world after Syria, and more than five million people depend on humanitarian aid. Over 190,000 Colombians have fled to neighbouring Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Colombia hosts around 1,2 million people who have fled from the growing humanitarian situation in neighbouring Venezuela.


People we helped in Colombia in 2017

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme


NRC's operation

We provide emergency and long-term assistance to internally displaced people in rural areas where authorities struggle to provide help, and in urban environments, where the majority of Colombia’s displaced population has sought safety.

The crisis in Venezuela means that many people are seeking humanitarian aid in other countries. We are currently implementing a multi-country (Colombia-Panamá-Ecuador-Brazil) action plan that articulates the response according to the humanitarian and protection needs of Venezuelans.


NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

We improve access to registration procedures and legal humanitarian assistance as well as access to land and housing for communities who have had their land or houses seized or abandoned. Our ICLA teams:

  •  assist displaced people in rural and urban areas who have not yet declared their displacement to the Public Ministry
  •  provide legal services to displaced people who are victims of usurpation or abandonment of land or housing
  •  offer legal assistance services to guarantee victims’ rights when they return to their land
  •  provide legal assistance on how to access adequate housing and how to limit risks of eviction


NRC EducationEducation

We help displaced families keep their children in school, and work with youth and adults so they can complete their education and find safe vocational training opportunities. Our teams:

  •  conduct censuses in municipalities affected by conflict to identity out-of-school children
  •  give technical support to educational authorities to provide alternative education programmes for those out of school
  •  give technical support to schools and training centres to implement flexible education models for out-of-school children
  •  support schools and vocational training centres, increasing their capacity to meet the needs of out-of-school children
  •  work with children so they can attend flexible education model programmes and technical and vocational skills training

In acute emergencies, we:

  •  distribute learning and sports equipment, so that children can continue to learn and play
  •  build temporary classrooms and latrines as well as upgrade school infrastructure
  •  provide newly displaced children with safe learning environments
  •  train teachers on how to best teach and support their students


NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Access to shelter is essential for one’s dignity, privacy, health, and physical and social protection. Our shelter and settlements teams provide access to adequate shelter solutions for affected people across all phases of displacement. This ranges from rapidly deployable emergency shelter solutions that can save lives, to supporting early recovery and promoting durable solutions.

Our shelter teams:

  •  provide temporary shelter solutions through cash for rent
  •  provide transitional shelters for vulnerable families through complete shelter construction or cash for a housing upgrade
  •  provide habitat or hygiene kits for vulnerable families, thereby increasing and promoting safe hygiene practices
  •  multipurpose protective and collective shelters, like community canters
  •  construction and repair of classrooms


Emergency response    

When a new conflict arises in remote locations, we provide humanitarian assistance to communities where no permanent field presence has yet been or can be established. We also help newly displaced children go to safe learning environments during acute emergencies.

In emergencies, we:

  •  train teachers so that they can best teach and support their pupils during an emergency
  •  distribute learning and sports equipment, so that children can continue to learn and play
  •  build temporary classrooms and latrines and upgrade school infrastructure
  •  supply food and temporary shelters
  •  facilitate the registration process in acute emergencies, so displaced people can access to humanitarian assistance.


NRC Colombia is grateful for the generous support from our donors:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway (NMFA), Norad - Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (BPRM); Canada Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD); European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO); United Kingdom Embassy; Norwegian Embassy; The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


Your support will bring relief and hope to an entire region. Displaced persons need our support to ensure their hard-won peace is consolidated. Your support helps us to assist people fleeing from Colombia and Venezuela.

About NRC in (country)

1991–2004: Indirect presence through Project Counselling Service Consortium. 2005 – Direct presence in Colombia
International staff
Areas of operation
Colombia: Bogota (Country Office), Florencia and San Vincente del Caguan (Caqueta), Granada (Meta), Pasto and Tumaco (Nariño), Guapi and Popayan (Cauca), Quibdo (Choco) Cucuta and Ocaña (Norte de Santander), Arauca (Arauca), Santa Marta (Magdalena). Ecuador: Esmeraldas, Lago Agrio, Tulcan and Quito – Panamá: Ciudad de Panama
Budget 2019
NOK 174 million
National staff

NRC in Colombia

Country Director

Christian Visnes


+51 1 3171481