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: Edgar León/NRC

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.

This page covers our work in Colombia, Ecuador and Panama.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2019.

Humanitarian overview

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

Although the country reached a milestone with the 2016 peace agreement, violence continues in former FARC-EP controlled areas and several armed groups are fighting for control of natural resources and drug traffic routes. The fragile peace process is facing challenges and uncertainty.

Colombia has the second largest internally displaced population (IDPs) 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 1.4 million people who have fled from the growing humanitarian situation in neighbouring Venezuela.

People we helped in Colombia, Ecuador and Panama in 2019

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
benefited from our camp management programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

We provide assistance to IDPs in rural areas where authorities struggle to provide help, and in urban environments, where the majority of Colombia’s IDPs have sought safety.

We also contribute to the process of reintegration of former combatants into civilian life, and to the self-management, integration and stabilisation of the territories affected by armed conflict.

The crisis in Venezuela means that many people are seeking humanitarian aid in other countries. We are implementing a multi-country (Colombia-Panamá-Ecuador-Brazil) action plan for the response.

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
  • promote resolution of socio-environmental conflicts and draft livelihoods and economic proposals for ex-combatants

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

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
  • initiate multipurpose protective and collective shelters, like community centres
  • construct and repair classrooms
  • provide and maintain latrines or toilets segregated by gender, or family units that are safe for women, girls, men and boys

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
  • provide newly displaced people with safe learning environments
  • 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 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)
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • 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)
  • Dubai Cares
  • The Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Your support will bring relief and hope. Displaced persons and implementation of the peace agreement need our support to ensure their hard-won peace is consolidated.

About NRC in Colombia

1991–2004: Indirect presence through Project Counselling Service Consortium. 2005 – Direct presence in Colombia
International staff
Areas of operation
Colombia: Bogota, Apartado and Medellin (Antioquia), Arauca (Arauca), Guapi and Popayan (Cauca), Florencia (Caqueta), Quibdo and Tumaco (Choco), San Jose de Guaviare (Guaviare), Riohacha (La Guajira), Santa Marta (Magdalena), Granada (Meta), Cucuta and Ocaña (Norte de Santander), Cali (Valle del Cauca), Pasto and Ipiales (Nariño). Ecuador: Esmeraldas, Lago Agrio, Tulcan, Guayaquil, Huaquillas and Quito. Panama: Ciudad de Panama.
Budget 2019
USD 14.4 million
National staff

NRC in Colombia

Country Director

Dominika Arseniuk


(+571) 514 0461